Radio Ranch (1940)

RADIO RANCH (1940)
(a.k.a. MEN WITH STEEL FACES)
Article #1594 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-26-2005
Posting Date: 12-23-2005
Directed by Otto Brower and B. Reeves Eason
Featuring Gene Autry, Frankie Darro, Betsy King Ross

Gene Autry must contend with horsemen from a scientifically-advanced underground city and with crooks after radium while keeping his radio show on the air.

One advantage of watching a feature version of a serial (of THE PHANTOM EMPIRE, in this case) when you haven’t seen the serial itself is that you don’t have that air of redundancy of having been through the whole thing before. The disadvantage is that it makes it that much harder to figure out what’s going on. Like most feature versions of serials, this one flows badly and jumps around from scene to scene in a confusing manner. Still, there’s something innately fun about the combination of singing cowboys, radium smugglers, cowboy-hatted robots, death-ray guns and evil queens, and this somewhat compensates for the confusing mess as well as the fact that my copy of the movie has the worst sound in the world. Still, I bet I like the full serial better. Someday, I’ll know for sure…

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