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The Star Packer

USA 1934
produced by
Paul Malvern for Monogram Pictures (Lone Star)
directed by Robert N. Bradbury
starring John Wayne, George Hayes (= Gabby Hayes), Verna Hillie, Yakima Canutt, Billy Franey, Eddie Parker, Earl Dwire, Thomas G. Lingham, George Cleveland, Artie Ortego, Tex Palmer, Bud Pope, Glenn Strange
written by Robert N. Bradbury, cinematography by Archie Stout

John Wayne at Monogram (Lone Star)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A gangster known only as theShadow is terrorizing a small Western town, and only John Wayne and his saddle-pal, the Indian Yak (Yakima Canutt) are there to stop him. So Wayne holds up a stagecoach himself in order to thwart a holdup by the Shadows henchmen. Infuriated about this though, they shoot the stage's drivers, having the horses run wild and Verna Hillie, the sole passenger, to her certain doom ... would it not be for Wayne again to jump onto the speeding stage and stop the wild horses.

Back in town a new sheriff is sworn in, but no sooner does he step out on the street is he gunned down, with the assassin nowhere to be seen. 

"If it's just the same to you folks, I'll take that job of sheriff," says Wayne, and his investigations soon lead him to Matlock's (George Hayes) farm, which is half-owned by Verna Hillie due to her father (the original co-owner) killed by the Shadow. Soon, though, the Shadow wants Hillie driven off the farm for some reason - with little success - and soon Wayne and Yak find out (little surprisingly) that Matlock is actually the Shadow. A massive showdown that involves some 40 horseriders and a machinegun on a covered wagon that falls over a cliff in the end, puts an end to the Shadow's evil deeds ...

 

John Wayne's B-Westerns for Monogram are all pretty good (he did 16 of them between 1933 and 1935) and this one's no exception. A great many of them were directed by Robert N. Bradbury, who is regarded by many (and I happen to agree) as the most imaginative B-Western directors of his time. In this one he successfully blends Western- and murder-mystery-elements, while never letting the action take second seat. Stunts, as usual in Wayne's Monograms, are handled by Yakima Canutt, most probably the best stuntman of his time, maybe of all times, who also had small roles in many of them, speaking in his unmistakingly snarling voice, most of the time as the villain's head henchman. Here he plays the heroes sidekick and comedy relief though. George Hayes, here seen as the villain, also played in most of Wayne's Monograms, usually as the hero's sidekick or the father of the heroine. Later he would (along with Fuzzy Al St.John) become one of the leading bearded sidekicks in many a B-Western, often being the saddlepal of Roy Rogers and being Windy on the long running and highly popular Hopalong Cassidy-series (he doesn't have his beard in Star Packer, though).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those inclined, also check out the video review of The Star Packer I did with filmmaker Sean Weathers, with the movie in its entirety playing afterwards.

 

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD