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Hard Hombre

USA 1931
produced by
M.H. Hoffman jr for Allied Pictures
directed by Otto Brower
starring Hoot Gibson, Lisa Basquette, Mathilde Comont, G. Raymond Nye, Jessie Arnold, Jack Byron, Christian J. Frank, Rosa Gore, Skeeter Bill Robbins, Frank Winkleman, Milton Brown, Fernando Gálvez, Clara Hunt, Florence Lawrence, Tiny Sandford, Chalres Brinley, Bob Burns, Fred Burns, Buck Connors, Jack King, Lem Sowards, Glenn Strange
written by Jack Natteford

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Peaceful Patton (Hoot Gibson) is as good a son as you could imagine: He loves his mother (Jessie Arnold), loves to take her to church, doesn't drink or smoke because whe wouldn't allow it, and he avoids fights just because she wouldn't approve. Heck, he doesn't even carry a gun. That doesn't mean he's a coward though, he doesn't hesitate to ride into the middle of a gunfight with the words "Can't you guss talk it over?" - it's just to no avail usually.

Eventually, Patton tries to get a job at Senora Martini's (Lina Basquette) ranch, but she takes an instant dislike in him and gives him an semingly insurmountable (and dangerous) task: To return 30 pieces of cattle from neighbouring rancher Barlow (G.Raymond Nye), who has stolen them.

Patton, unaware of the kind of violent person Barlow is, just rides to his ranch and asks ... and since Patton looks just like the most notorious outlaw of the region, the Hard Hombre, Barlow reimburses the cattle in cash.

Senora Martini is now impressed by Patton's effectiveness and starts to take a liking in him ... until she learns he might be the Hard Hombre, which puts fear into her heart - just like into everyone else's. So it's a good thing than that the whole region has dried out, and che can send him away to look for new rangeland.

It seems though when Patton finds the new rangeland, he's already to late since all the other ranchers are already there and have made their claims ... only because they mistake him for the Hard Hombre, they get mighty frightened and even want to give him their rangeland for free. At first, Patton is mighty surprised, but then he learns he's supposed to be an outlaw, and uses this reputation to his advantage, cutting each and every rancher in for a fair land-deal - something the others apparently were unable to do - and he would have gotten away with it, too hadn't his mother shown up and blown his cover. And now, the other ranchers, despite the fact that he gave them all a fair deal, form a posse to hunt him down. Patton gets away, but then he runs into the real Hard Hombre (Frank Winkleman), who doesn't approve of the use of his name to do right for a change. And suddenly, all the ranchers are siding with the (real) Hard Hombre, just to have Patton punished for getting them a fair deal. Then though, the Hard Hombre makes a mistake when he pushes Patton's mother, upon which Peaceful Patton gets so furious he beats the living daylights out of the Hard Hombre - which finally gets him the respect from the ranchers, and of course, he gets the girl in the end, while the sheriff (Christian J.Frank) gets the Hard Hombre.

 

This film suffers pretty much all the setbacks independent B-Westerns from the early talkie era tend to suffer: Stagey direction, lack of production values, clumsy handling of action scenes and so on.

Yet, Hard Hombre is an incredibly entertaining film, mainly for two reasons, the story and the actors: The story, right down to the title and character names (Hard Hombre, Peaceful Patton) is so camp and tongue-in-cheek at the same time, you can't help laughing. And Hoot Gibson, the one cowboy actor who has always provided his own comic relief, is almost hilarious as the guy who couldn't hurt a fly who gives a clumsy tough-guy-impression, sided by Lina Basquette, whose Spanish Senora always borders caricature, Mathilde Comont as her chaperon, who simply is a living caricature, and Jessie Arnold as Patton's resolute mother, who's a great contrast to Gibson's mild-mannered Patton.

Of yourse, above-mentioned shortcomings keep this from being a masterpiece, but considering this was nothing more than a series Western, Hard Hombre is almost remarkable.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
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