The Blazing Sun (1950 film)

The Blazing Sun is a 1950 American western film directed by John English, which stars Gene Autry, Lynne Roberts, and Anne Gwynne.

The Blazing Sun
Poster for the film
Directed byJohn English
Produced byArmand Schaefer
Written byJack Townley
StarringGene Autry
Lynne Roberts
Anne Gwynne
Music byPaul Mertz (director)
Mischa Bakaleinikoff (supervision)
CinematographyWilliam Bradford
Edited byJames Sweeney
Production
company
Gene Autry Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • November 20, 1950 (1950-11-20) (US)[1]
Running time
69 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Plot

Gene Autry is a private investigator for a banking association, on the trail of two bank robbers, Al Bartlett and Trot Lucas. Bartlett and Lucas waylay Larry Taylor, a doctor on his way to the town of White Water to treat a train engineer who was wounded by the bank robbers, and Taylor's assistant, Helen Ellis. Stealing the couple's horses, they leave them stranded.

Autry rides out from White Water heading towards Los Robles, where the doctor was summoned from, to see what is keeping him. Coming upon the couple, he lets Larry ride Champion, Autry's horse, into White Water to get help, while he stays with Helen for protection. Larry returns shortly and the three ride into White Water.

In Los Robles, Helen's father, a prospector, enlists the help of a local assayer, Ben Luber, to evaluate the quality of some ore he has extracted. Ben tells Tom Ellis that he will need mining equipment to mine the ore, and his willing to lend him the money for it, in exchange for an interest in the mine. Ben and his brother, Carl, are partners with Bartlett and Lucas. When they go up to the hideout of the two bank robbers, they see Autry approaching, trying to track down the two bandits. Ben releases the two horses which were stolen from Doc Taylor and Helen, which Autry takes off after. Ben and Carl follow, and overpower Autry, who they accuse of stealing the horses, and take him into Los Robles. Autry is quickly cleared, and enlists the help of an old friend, Mike, to continue the search outside of town for Bartlett and Lucas. While camping out that night, they see Ben driving back into town late at night.

The following day, Autry publicly confronts Ben about his trip the previous night. Flustered, Ben makes up a story about two of his horses being stolen (which he has actually taken up to Lucas and Bartlett). When Sheriff Phillips raises a posse to go after the non-existent thieves, Ben sends them in the wrong direction. When Autry refuses to join the posse, Phillips has him put in jail for safe-keeping, until the posse returns. However, Bartlett robs the town's bank since the sheriff is away, and Helen witnesses it and follows him to his hideout in the hills.

Autry is released from jail, so he can track the bank robber. He arrives at Bartlett's cabin in the hills just as Helen is discovered. In the ensuing gunfight Bartlett kills his brother and Lucas, thinking that his dead brother's body will pass for him. When Kitty shows up to identify Bartlett's body, claiming to be his wife, Autry figures out that the dead man is not Bartlett.

Ben, knowing where Bartlett is now hiding out, offers to turn him in for the reward, but Bartlett figures out the doublecross and kills Ben. Autry and Tom Ellis ride after Bartlett, catching up to him as he boards a train in an attempt to escape. Bartlett is killed, and Autry allows Helen and Tom to have the reward money.

Cast list

Production

On January 15, 1950 Gene Autry announced that he would begin filming the first of his scheduled six films for Columbia with The Blazing Sun, commencing production on March 27.[2] John Englund was given the nod to direct in April.[3] Despite the earlier announcement, the filming did not begin until the end of April.[4] After it opened, the National Legion of Decency gave it an "A" rating: "morally unobjectionable for general patronage.[5]

Reception

Motion Picture Daily (MPD) gave the film a somewhat favorable review, enjoying Autry's performance, and complimenting the rest of the cast on their acting. They felt it would please his fans, but was a bit short on action, however when the action did come it was well done and very realistic.[6] Variety enjoyed the film slightly more, saying it compared favorably with more run-of-the-mill "oaters" (a film industry term for westerns). Unlike MPD, they felt the picture stressed action more so than Autry's other films. They singled out the work of the supporting cast, in particular enjoying the performances of Kenne Duncan, Pat Buttram, Lynne Roberts, Edward Norris, and Alan Hale Jr.. They praised English's direction, complimenting his handling of the action, as well as the camerawork of William Bradford.[7]

References

  1. "The Blazing Sun: Detail View". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on September 4, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  2. "Autry's on Tour; His Company Reelects". Motion Picture Daily. January 16, 1950. p. 4. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  3. "Briefs From the Lots". Variety. April 19, 1950. p. 18. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  4. "Coast Production Up as 12 Films Start". Motion Picture Daily. May 3, 1950. p. 2. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  5. "Legion Reviews 8, One in Class 'B'". Motion Picture Daily. November 29, 1950. p. 4. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  6. "Motion Picture Daily Feature Reviews". Motion Picture Daily. November 9, 1950. p. 6. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  7. "Film Reviews". Variety. November 8, 1950. p. 18. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
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