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Blue Steel

USA 1934
produced by
Paul Malvern for Monogram Pictures (Lone Star)
directed by Robert N. Bradbury
starring John Wayne, Eleanor Hunt, George Hayes (= Gabby Hayes), Edward Peil sr, Yakima Canutt, Lafe McKee, George Cleveland, Earl Dwire, Fern Emmett, Hank Bell, George Nash, Herman Hack, Perry Murdock, Artie Ortego, Tex Phelps
written by Robert N. Bradbury, cinematography by Archie Stout, music director: Lee Zahler

John Wayne at Monogram (Lone Star)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The Polkadot Bandit has struck again and has stolen a payroll from a hotel safe. Unfortunately Sheriff Jake Withers (Gabby Hayes) has spotted John Carruthers (John Wayne) investigating the scene of the crime and has immediately come to the conclusion that he is the Polkadot Bandit - and the very next day, he starts to track Carruthers down and soon enough has followed him back to his shack, where he finds more and more circumstantial evidence linking Carruthers to the crime, but nothing conclusive let alone the loot. So he decides to stick with Carruthers, who doesn't mind the company, especially since he knows Withers is the Sheriff trying to track down the Polkadot Bandit (despite Withers being in disguise).

Soon enough, Carruthers and Withers save young Betty (Eleanor Hunt) from a gang of outlaws who have already killed her father and stolen all the provisions he was supposed to deliver to the nearby town. In the process of this, Carruthers saves the Sheriff's life.

Later, in town, it turns out that all the townspeople were depending on the provisions to take them through the coming winter, only Malgrove (Edward Peil sr) tries to lift their spirits by offering each one 100 Dollars for their homestead, as a fresh start elsewhere. Carruthers immediately grows suspicious, especially when he figures out Malgrove's right-hand-man Danti (Yakima Canutt) is the Polkadot Bandit - so he offers the townspeople to go fetch provisions himself (with Withers of course), just to spoil Malgrove's plans.

Malgrove invites Betty to his ranch to come over the loss of her father, and she gladly accepts - until she overhears a conversatin between Malgrove and Danti in which they discuss running the townsfolks off their homesteads because of a giant oilfield right beneath the village. Betty is caught overhearing the two of them and locked up at the hideout of Malgrove's gang.

Carruthers immediately smells something's fishy and he trails Malgrove down to the hideout, then the next day, when Malgrove and company think he and Withers are on the way to the next city to fetch provisions, they actually head for the hideout, overcome the few henchmen left behind as guards, free Betty, and retrieve the provisions Malgrove and gang have stolen in their last heist. As they are about to leave of course, Malgrove and gang return, which amounts to a big chase in which the baddies are eventually defeated when Carruthers uses some dynamite he has found in the villains' hideout to make half a mountain fall on top of them.

In the end, Carruthers of course gets Betty while Sheriff Withers learns that Carruthers is not at all the Polkadot Bandit but a gouvernment agent ...


The Westerns John Wayne made for Monogram in the mid-1930's are all pretty good, especially those directed by Robert N.Bradbury (over half of them), and this one is no exception, an extremely likeable piece of B-Western cinema that makes up for its budgetary shortcomings with an exciting script, an abundance of action (including some great stunts courtesy of Yakima Canutt), and Archie Stout's great camerawork.

If you're at all into B-Westerns, you should watch this one.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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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




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


A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD