Haunted Gold (1932)

Article 1838 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-27-2006
Posting Date: 8-24-2006
Directed by Mack V. Wright
Featuring John Wayne, Sheila Terry, Harry Woods

A man returns to a ghost town to lay claim to his share of an abandoned mine. A woman is also there to make the same claim, but they have to contend with a gang that is also after the gold in the mine, as well as a mysterious phantom.

Just as I was getting ready to post this, I discovered that my original review had vanished and I had to knock this one together from scratch. Unfortunately, since it’s been a good five months since I’ve seen the movie, my memory is a bit sketchy. It’s a shame; horror westerns are a bit of a rarity, and one starring John Wayne in his b-movie days is certainly a novelty. I recall that the movie was amusing enough for the most part, though fairly predictable at times. I also recall thinking that the scared black comic-relief character was particularly hard to put up with. The actor, Blue Washington, would appear in 42 movies after this, but, if IMDB is correct, this is the last time he would receive a screen credit. Sadly, that’s all I can remember about this one, but If I get a chance to rewatch it in the near future, I’ll rewrite this one.

ADDENDUM: Having rewatched the movie, I can now add some fresh commentary.

Overall, the movie is a mixed bag. It’s remarkably good at times; at least two of the action sequences (one involving a suspended mine cart and the other a chase scene) are excellent, there’s more horror mood to the horror sequences than I’ve seen in the other horror westerns from the period, and John Wayne’s horse Duke (I wonder if John Wayne’s nickname was derived from this horse) is one of the best animal performers I’ve ever seen. On the downside, as mentioned above, is Blue Washington’s comic stereotype character, and I think he gets more screen time than Wayne does. The plot is also pretty weak, as it largely uses coincidence to wander from set piece to set piece. Still, the high points make it worth a viewing.


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