by Jaime Grijalba.
Do any of you know who or what Red Ryder is? From what I gather he is some kind of hero of the 40’s, linked exclusively to the western genre through a multiple amount of platforms in which he was the hero and had adventures. It begun as a comic strip that started in 1938, and later was adapted for radio with radio plays and other programs of that kind. In 1940 the first Red Ryder “film” was released, it was a 12 episode movie serial produced by Republic, and since 1944 there were more than 35 films with the Red Ryder character having different movies, at times even having six films released a year between 1944 and 1947. The movies are usually around the hour mark, most of them don’t even surpass the 60-minute mark, something akin to what you could nowadays call a TV-series, except filmed and made even cheaper and released onto theaters, and with no actual follow up between the episodes, this is much more akin to what a ‘modular’ TV series is, something like CSI or any other procedural, where the link between the episodes is minimal, and just a few characters are repeated from time to time. But, in the end, what most people recognice Red Ryder nowadays is thanks to the Christmas classic ‘A Christmas Story’ (1983), where the protagonist wanted a “Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle BB gun with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time”… of course Red Ryder surpassed the media entertainment and managed to have guns named after him, what a strange franchise it is.
Well, after all that, let me say that I’m so sorry that I missed the last two weeks, it was really hard to make these posts, find the time, specially due to personal issues. The Western Countdown is almost over and this feature, then, doesn’t have much time left. So, dare I ask? Do you want this to continue in any way? Maybe one week, two weeks? Or you just had your western fill for this year? Please, go ahead, go crazy in the comments, please. It helps. As always, this feature has its own rating, self explanatory in the image below, with the noose being the lowest ranking (for those movies that are so obscure that if they dissapeared, it wouldn’t matter, because they were pure trash) and the man with no name being the highest ranking for those rare diamonds in the rough that I hope I can find one of these days.
So, what is ‘Marshal of Reno’ about? Well, I can tell you this much: it doesn’t have a marshal character and it doesn’t take place in Reno, much like with the titles of the James Bond movies, the titles of the Red Ryder films make no sense whatsoever when compared to the plot and what actually happens or who appears even. In this movie, as in every other Red Ryder film of the era, he is accompanied by the two most offensive living clichés that have ever plagued the screen: an old miner crazy guy who seems to always be dancing, yelling or in his pajamas; and also with them, there’s a 6 year old indian boy who travels around with bow and arrow, speaking offensively broken english. Oh, what a trio to have adventures with, specially when they are as convoluted as the one that this movie tries to tell us about. There is a band of outlaws around, and since a young newcomer is the only one around, he is given the charges of assaulting and robbing, that due to the influence of one of the real outlaws, who has infiltrated the office of the sheriff. This young man later finds Red Ryder, who is also doing some recognition work, infiltrating the band of outlaws to then sabotage them from the inside.
So, what does actually happen in the end? I don’t know, the movie moves really fast as it’s under an hour long, but at the same time everything that happens seems to have no importance whatsoever. For example, the young man that is charged with assault and robbery had a friend, who is immediatly killed by the people who are chasing him, and we don’t see any rage, nor seething nor controlled nor anything, it seemed almost as if he didn’t really care for him, even if we saw how they were good friends and talked a lot about what they wanted to do now that they were in the wild west. The film is generic beyond belief, but not only that, it’s also quite faulty in every department, and while it doesn’t sink into awfulness, it does make yourself uncomfortable by being so long even if it’s really short when it comes to actual runtime. The cinematography is bland and never interesting, the acting is bland and sometimes just way too low for it ever becoming interesting or riveting in any way, the shot composition is uninspired, the elements of the style are just there to be looked at more than anything, but like with any other american western done for the cheap in the 40’s… it does sure look like a western, unlike much of the films already reviewed for this instance. At least, it has that going for it.