Oblivion (1994)


We love Full Moon Entertainment here at the ISCFC – we’ve reviewed many of their films, and are always happy to point people to http://www.fullmoonstreaming.com where for a low low monthly price you can have access to their entire back catalogue. They’ve been going, under a variety of names, keeping genre fans happy for over 30 years (although I don’t think anyone was happy with “Puppet Master: The Legacy”).

Predating “Firefly” and “Cowboys vs. Aliens” by many years, 1994’s “Oblivion” is a sci-fi-western-comedy. Well, really it’s a Western, with funny bits, set on a far-distant planet, but you get the idea. To those cynics among you wondering if Full Moon got offered a Western movie set and decided to write a film around it, hush because there’s plenty of care taken to incorporate the different elements – the town’s doctor also fixes robots, there’s an ATM next to where the horses are tied up and the alien streetlights dominate the skyline.


Red-Eye, a lizard-alien, and his gang of goons have murdered the sheriff of Oblivion and are trying to take over. It’s all about a substance which we’ll call, for ease of my typing fingers, X – value demonstrated when a guy looking for it throws a huge hunk of gold away. Super-valuable, and it shorts out electrical circuits, meaning the cyborg Deputy of the town is no use against the gang either. Into this fun comes the Sheriff’s son Zack, bringing with him a “native”, Buteo, who he rescued from being eaten alive by gigantic scorpions. Zack’s a pacifist, but will he be able to put this aside to fight Red-Eye and save the town?

The cast is absolutely packed with genre superstars. Doing double-duty as Red-Eye and crazed prospector Einstein is Andrew Divoff, and he’s great in both roles; ISCFC favourite Musetta Vander is his leather-clad electric whip-wielding sidekick; Isaac Hayes has a cameo as the X buyer; Catwoman herself, Julie Newmar, is “Miss Kitty”; Carel Struycken (whose name you won’t recognise, but whose face you definitely will) is the undertaker; and George Takei is Dr Valentine.


Of all these, Takei is the biggest name, and this fame allowed him some hefty leeway. He’s drunk almost his entire time on screen, and he’s terrible at acting drunk; plus he ad-libbed an absolute ton of Star Trek-related lines, which scriptwriter Peter David has completely disowned. One Star Trek line, okay, it’s pretty much expected if you hire him, but there were loads of them. It’s not like Isaac Hayes sang “Shaft” during his scenes.

As well as the typical western movie beats, there’s some really funny scenes in “Oblivion”, including the funeral being held in the same building as a game of bingo; and the response to the Undertaker is always good – given how rarely you see Struycken actually talk in his other roles, you’d assume he’s no good at it, but he’s fine in this. There’s a surprisingly good English accent from South African-turned-American Vander, and the two main roles – Zack and Buteo – while being interchangeable at times (they both criticise the other for philosophising too much) are fun and their motivations are clear. Musetta Vander comfortably steals every scene she’s in, as well, absolutely understanding what sort of movie this is.


This is the sort of film that Full Moon were made to do. Getting every penny from their budget, having a lot of camp fun and doing something the big studios would never even think of, much less spend millions of dollars on. This was filmed back-to-back with its sequel (there’s a “to be continued” at the end, which you don’t often see at the end of movies because, you know, you paid good money to see a complete story, not the first half of one) and was the last movie in the relationship between Full Moon and Paramount, meaning from now on, expect lower star-power and budgets from them (there’s a bit of a gulf between this and, say, 2000’s “The Dead Hate The Living!”) But they’re still doing it and still having fun, so more power to them.

A true clash of genres, made with love and a knowing wink, it’s fallen into a little obscurity compared to some of their other output but it’s absolutely worth watching. And with Full Moon’s streaming service being so comprehensive, you don’t have to hunt it down.

Rating: thumbs up


Stagecoach (1966)


Directed by: Gordon Douglas

I want to argue that this remake should be remade. ‘Stagecoach’ is a remake of the wonderful 1939 John Ford original. After watching the ’66 version I couldn’t help but think – “Imagine if Tarantino or the Coen Brothers got hold of this. Turned out something like ‘Django Unchained’ or ‘True Grit’. The source material is all there, the quirky characters, heinous villains and a whole heap of remorseless Wild West violence. There’s something about ‘Stagecoach’ which if adapted again could provide the unrepentant violence featured in Cormac McCarthy’s ‘Blood Meridian’ with this allegory of the need for coexistence and diplomacy in the face of adversity. The story is golden in a world divided and on the brink of oblivion.

In terms of the views of Western purists, not many people have time for the ’66 version of ‘Stagecoach’. I suppose it is because John Ford is one of the master creators of the genre. Tampering with his work is sacrilegious. The story of ‘Stagecoach’ is all about a bunch of passengers who have no choice but to travel to Cheyenne. Bing Crosby plays a drunk doctor, Ann-Margret the banished showgirl, there’s a stern Marshal, a goofy stagecoach driver and a falsely accused outlaw called the Ringo Kid.

The film’s most gripping action packed scene is when hundreds of Native Americans chase the rickety stagecoach through woodland and the prairies. The chase is brilliantly action packed, as Indians leap from horses onto the stagecoach. Bullets and arrows fly, then disaster strikes and the wagon loses a wheel. A horse is slain. The motley band of misfit travellers must fight for their lives.

Then there’s the final showdown, a stripped back version of Django’s final fight in Candie’s Ranch as the Ringo Kid goes into enemy territory facing off against the horrid Plummer brothers. It’s no less exciting, as a fire rages through the saloon Ringo looks for revenge.

I was surprised by Bill Crosby’ acting; my abiding image of the man is of a dopey, sad sack crooner. In ‘Stage Coach’ he provides the light relief. Crosby spends most of the time sipping bourbon on the sidelines, stepping in with a wisecrack when required. He’s part of an ensemble cast that work well together. There’s no star name, unlike the magnetism of the young John Wayne in the original, Alex Cord’s Ringo Kid is quite literally shackled. The film relies on the sum of its parts, rolling on through the wilderness.


Stagecoach on IMDB

Youtube Film Club: Steel Frontier (1995)

The birthday haul

The birthday haul

Thanks to £6 and the local second-hand shop, I am in possession of 13 films. One of them I’ve already reviewed on here (“Ninja Terminator”) and one of them is really good (“Drive”) but there’s going to be some amazing action in there, and you will get to read about them. It’s also sort of close to this site’s original remit (as the Poundland DVD Review).

Anyway, if you want scenes seemingly selected at random from classic Westerns, grafted onto some poorly developed post-apocalyptic background (or “Mad Max meets The Man With No Name”, as IMDB helpfully sums up), then this is the film for you. The small town of New Hope, which survives thanks to a process they have for turning old car tyres back into usable oil, and lots of car tyres, is invaded by a group called the United Regime, although at other times they refer to themselves as the Death Riders. Anyway, they slaughter a bunch of people and enslave the rest, taking over the oil business. The main man, General Quantrell (Brion James, who appeared in so many great films), has a gun so powerful it blows a man thirty feet back…but that’s evidently just a lucky shot, because it’s never referenced again.

Driving through the wilderness is Yuma, played by Joe Lara, who was in scores of dreadful-sounding films from the 90s before seemingly retiring from the business around 2000. He’s just doing his thing until he interrupts the United Regime guys trying to round up people who fled New Hope, and then in a surprisingly exciting and stunt-filled car chase kills several of them before his capture. He decides to join the United Regime guys, but then uses his position to sow discord in their ranks, rescue a beautiful woman from her would-be rapist and generally be a badass, before helping the remaining townsfolk drive them out for good.


There’s lots for the bad film afficionado to appreciate here. Yuma kills some desert creature for food at the beginning, but by the time he’s walked over to the corpse ten seconds later rigor mortis has set in. Most of the bad guys are the most hilarious over-actors I’ve seen in a long time, and they seem to really relish their craziness – along with the desert mutants (called Roach-Eaters) this film is packed full of people who’d prefer to scream their dialogue. The famous scene from “Shane” where a dead body is delivered to the station, is ripped off here by a multiple of 5, and the fact that dead bodies tend not to stand up is ignored. There’s also a rather bizarre LA gang style initiation into the United Regime.

But, I’ve got to say I enjoyed it. This is the sort of film that will never be made again, a B movie with a big budget, where the huge explosions are absolutely real (they must have found an old set, or village that needed demolition doing, because some of the stuff that gets blown up is massive) and dozens of cars and trucks get detonated or smashed to pieces too. No big stars (much as I love Brion James, he’s not a marquee name) and, if I’m being fair, no originality either. It’s not the greatest film you’ll ever see, but it’s plenty of fun and you can play “spot the film they ripped off”, scene by scene.

Rating: thumbs up


Django Unchained (2012)


Self indulgence is something well known to Quentin Tarantino and is evidently displayed heartily and unashamedly coursing throughout his directorial back catalogue. It’s hardly a surprise though that the Weinsteins give him free reign since he almost single-handedly saved Miramax from going under in the 90s with Reservoir Dogs and, most notably, Pulp Fiction. The problem now is that he doesn’t have anyone to actually produce his films properly, say no to him or edit the fluff in the cutting room, in fact Tarantino has only one film in his canon that follows a recognisable narrative structure and holds the interest for its full run time, Jackie Brown.

It seems that Tarantino’s onanism reached something of a nadir following the eye-gougingly boring Deathproof and the sloppy Inglorious Basterds as with Django Unchained he returns to the Jackie Brown template of telling an actual story in a comprehensive manner. Maybe he listened to the negative press regarding his recent output and noticed that general interest in his work was cooling with only his fan base showing the levels of appreciation that have plummeted since his mid 90s heyday or maybe he just wanted to show that he can still be considered a cutting edge director with his finger on the filmmaking pulse.


Django Unchained follows QT’s latest muse Christoph Waltz as bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz and an ice cool Jamie Foxx as the titular hero around the American south in search of the latter’s German born girlfriend Broomhilda. Along the way they meet a variety of Tarantino-esque villains and curiosities, as usual all filled by aging and past it stars ripe for the QT resurrection, Bruce Dern makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him cameo and Don Johnson shines as a caricature of Colonel Sanders. The ace-in-the-hole though is when our mismatched heroes reach the Candyland cotton plantation where Broomhilda is being kept and we’re introduced to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie and his house slave Stephen as played by Samuel L Jackson.

It’s here that the story jumps into fifth gear, helped no end by the performances of the principal cast with DiCaprio and Jackson in arguably their best character roles. Leo, complete with tobacco stained teeth and dark bags under his eyes, plays Candie with an unsettling megalomaniacal tension that bubbles just under his pristinely dressed surface and viciously erupts when lessons need teaching, which we see when he has one of his Mandingo slaves torn apart by dogs, and when he discovers the duplicitous nature behind Waltz and Foxx’s reason for visiting his property which leads him to threaten the life of Broomhilda in the film’s best scene.

Jackson gives Stephen a limp and a cat like sneer to prove that this isn’t as grey as a black men versus white men battle of good against evil as it turns out that Stephen could just be the baddest of the bad with constant back-stabbing of and snitching on our protagonists even wishing a slow and painful death against Django after he could walk away a free man. Waltz is a joy as ever but does basically play a benevolent version of exactly the same character he was in Inglorious Basterds and Foxx plays it the straightest out of all the leads.

There’s been a lot said about the amount of negative cultural language used in the film and its depiction of racial inequality but this is a film about a time and a place in America where this behaviour wasn’t just rife it was the norm. It’s painful to see how humans without white skin were treated then and some of the punishments bestowed on them like the hot box are particularly disgusting but these things happened, it’s understandable that some people don’t want to be reminded of it but we do need to look back to move forward and when we’re faced with the reality of mistakes from our past then we’re more likely not to repeat them.

Because of the grotesquely vibrant characters and the ridiculous situations they find themselves in I can understand why the racial issues can be misunderstood, since at times, it verges on the cartoony, but that would be missing the point of the film, it’s just a story that takes place when this other stuff took place, nothing is glorified or gratuitously overplayed and there are good and bad people from all races. In fact the two main sympathetic characters, one black and one white (Waltz and Foxx), need and rely upon each other to fulfil their individual tasks.

The film is about half an hour too long displaying lingering remnants of Tarantino’s vanity but fortunately it’s not overly detrimental to the final product and the more familiar structure helps the pacing not to sag or dwell just when it seems it might. The stellar acting, cracking screenplay, beautiful costumes and typically booming soundtrack make Django Unchained an entertaining, gloriously violent trudge through a beautiful part of America in a time when the people were anything but.

– Greg Foster

Django Unchained on IMDB
Buy Django Unchained (DVD + UV Copy) [2013]

Bunraku (2010)


Directed by: Guy Moshe

Style is a massive part of cinema, the look of a film can leave an indelible impression on the viewer. However on its own, as only one element of the bigger picture it can appear gaudy. ‘Bunraku’ has an abundance of style, it looks fantastic; yet it is let down by paper thin characters, and uninspiring acting. There is certain irony to this given the barman of the Horseless Horseman saloon makes paper models of the film’s two heroes.

My initial impressions of ‘Bunraku’ are very similar to how I felt after watching 2008’s ‘Franklyn’ and Zack Snyder’s ‘Sucker Punch’, both of which were visually stunning, taking you to dark dream worlds yet lacked the spark, of say, a ‘300’ or a ‘Sin City’, with quotable meme-making lines and oodles of dumb action packed fun. There are plenty of good concepts, but none of them are executed with any panache.

Story wise Bunraku is a wild west meets samurai revenge saga. Nikola the Woodcutter, who looks like he’s part of the white man reggae club, with his natty dreads and down & out wizard attire runs a post-apocalyptic town with draconian laws that is free of guns. To gain control of the town you must defeat Nikola and his feared band of killers. The elite of which are numbered from two to ten. The town’s population is drab and grey, with the proletariat living meekly under Nikola’s heavy thumb.

A faraway train brings two strangers into town. Josh Hartnett’s slugging nameless cowboy drifter and a sword less samurai called Yoshi played by the Japanese pop rocker Gackt. Both of whom have a desire to chop down the Woodcutter. It seems that the screenplay hedges its bets. Why do we need two strangers entering the town? Both of whom are so very similar, the only difference being they represent the stereotypical heroes of United States and Japan. Our two heroes are monosyllabic two sides of the same coin.

Though ‘Bunraku’ contains the kind of costumes that would be apt for a typical attendee of Comic Con, with red suited Russian mafia hoodlums, and an assortment of Steampunk looking fellows, we have a surplus of wonky heroes and villains. Kevin McKidd’s ‘Killer #2’ channels Who Framed Roger Rabbit’s Judge Doom, his odd Yorkshire accent and Christopher Walken inspired choreographed fight moves make him the king of Strictly Come Kung Fu fighting. McKidd is however the best thing in the movie. Demi Moore plays a reluctant whore called Alexandra. We are introduced to her clothed in a bath, then in the next scene she appears naked in a bath, receiving a massage from a trout faced servant. Moore contributes nothing to the movie. It’s amazing to think that at one time she was an A-list leading lady, now she’s best known as Ashton Kutcher’s former flame.

There are innovative fight scenes galore, which include a nice but brief Streets of Rage meets the famous Old Boy hammer fight that sees Josh Hartnett biffing his way through a prison, with each connecting punch getting a 8-bit Nintendo sound effect, the action is bogged down by wasteful scenes chock full of sludgy sluggish dialogue. Woody Harrelson’s bartender dispenses meaningless fortune cookie wisdom and Ron Perlman’s Woodcutter’s depressed mumbles are woefully uninteresting. When Perlman and Moore share a scene, it is painful, like overhearing the echo of mind-numbingly mournful conversation drifting down the sterile corridor of a hospice.

What ‘Bunraku’ lacks is charisma. The usually dependable Harrelson is reduced to pouring drinks and giving lifts to Hartnett and Gackt. It makes you wonder, in better hands, with wiser casting and a revised script ‘Bunraku’ could have been a cult classic


Bunraku on IMDB
Buy Bunraku [DVD]

Red Rock West (1993)


Nicolas Cage has been in a lot of films, a lot of rubbish films and a handful of good films. Among those good films is an early John Dahl feature called Red Rock West, a western-noir from 1993 that was somehow overlooked for a theatrical release in the US until a cinema owner tracked down the rights and screened it in his theatre a year later to great success.

Red Rock West was written by its director, John Dahl, and his brother Rick and was made in Arizona for a paltry budget of $7million. Columbia Tri-Star purchased the domestic distribution rights and, believing that the film ‘didn’t fall into any marketable categories’ (urgh), decided to release it straight to home video. Fortunately Bill Banning, the owner of the Roxie Cinema in San Francisco, wasn’t quite so patronising of his audiences and acquired a cut for his screens where it broke box office records and expanded to a further 8 cinemas in the city.

Cage stars as Michael Williams, a drifter in desperate need of an income since being discharged from the Marines. He finds himself wandering into the town of Red Rock, Wyoming and inadvertently lands a job after answering to the name of ‘Lyle from Dallas’ when posed a question about his presence in town by the bar owner Wayne (J.T. Walsh). His eyes light up when he’s handed a wad of cash but then soon dim as he’s advised what the job entails; to kill his new employer’s wife (Lara Flynn Boyle).

By this point we’ve already twigged that Williams doesn’t have an ounce of bad in him (he decides against stealing money from an open till in an earlier scene) so it comes as no surprise that instead of killing the unknowing spouse, he warns her of the dastardly plot on her life and accepts a greater sum from her to reverse the deed. He then attempts to skip town knowing full well he isn’t going to kill anyone but is foiled and gets dragged deeper into the fray as the real Lyle from Dallas (Dennis Hopper) arrives to carry out the original plan and soon discovers Cage’s identity theft.

Even in this short synopsis I’ve omitted a few more twists and turns in the plot but only because there are so many and, believe me, they do work. Dahl’s writing and direction, albeit at a formative stage in his career, is assured and brimming with confidence; the story flows at a tidy pace and it looks good too considering the budget constraints.

Thematically Red Rock West often feels like a David Lynch film just without the abstract profundity, now this isn’t taking anything away from what Dahl has achieved, quite the opposite in fact as I found myself constantly comparing it favourably to Lynch’s canon; The labyrinthine plot, the country music soundtrack and the apple-pie protagonist are all found in Lynch’s body of work plus all three leads, Cage (Wild At Heart) , Hopper (Blue Velvet) and Flynn Boyle (Twin Peaks) have all worked with him.

Talking of the three leads, they perform their roles with a style befitting the tone and writing of the piece which adds an extra layer of plausibility while the microcosm around these characters is slowly imploding on them. Cage has rarely been better as a good guy, Hopper channels Frank Booth without the depravity and Flynn Boyle kept me guessing all the way with a subtle, charming yet world worn performance. It should also be mentioned that this film gave us the acting debut of Dwight Yoakam (credited as ‘Truck Driver’) and while he was on set he who wrote the closing credits tune just because he could.

It seems incredible that a film as good as this can be discarded so easily because of an off day in the marketing department, still we have to be thankful for people like Banning for getting it the recognition it deserves, however slight. If you’ve not seen the film then I strongly urge you to source a copy at the earliest opportunity as Red Rock West is a buried 90s gem that needs to be unearthed, shined clean and displayed as that thing of rare beauty; a good Nic Cage film.

– Greg Foster

Red Rock West on IMDB
Buy Red Rock West [DVD] [1993]

Dear Wendy (2004)

Directed by Thomas Vinterberg

This film got picked up from Poundland on one of my big spending days at the discount store. I mostly purchased cleaning products – washing up liquid, anti-bacterial wipes, bleach. I had mentally counted nine items in my basket and realized that it was time to go along to the DVD section and see what treats were on offer that day. Could I pick up a trashy horror? A low budget Brit flick? Or something Scandanavian?

I was attracted to ‘Dear Wendy’ by Hotdog’s four star rating on the front of the box which referred to the film as “Fight Club with Guns”. I was further intrigued when I read it was written by Lars Von Trier.

Set in a small American mining town called Electric Park, the film follows a self-confessed loser named Dickie (Jamie Bell), who is raised by his motherly black maid called Clarabelle, as his Father slaves away down the mine. Dickie works stacking shelves in the town’s local Grocery Store that is run by a nervy guy called Salomon who fears the town’s gangs. The grey, claustrophobic nature of the town makes it feel like a prison. It is a place of nightmares, hence why the paranoid Salomon fears gangs which don’t actually exist.

Dickie buys a small old gun that he wrongly mistakes to be a toy from a local bric a brac shop staffed by a plain girl called Susan. The gun was intended to be a present for Clarabelle’s grandson called Sebastian, but instead of giving away the gun he gives Sebastian a copy of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’ minus the book’s last twenty pages.

After failing to return the gun to the store for a refund, Dickie decides to keep it. The gun is accidentally discovered one lunch break at work by Dickie’s equally socially inept colleague Stevie. Turns out Stevie is keen a gun enthusiast, and he informs Dickie that the gun is in fact a real working revolver. Dickie debates whether or not to keep the gun as he identifies himself as a pacifist, however when Stevie drops by one night to visit Dickie at home, he shows him his weapon, they find they have a shared interest in guns, and the two become buddies.

From the opening of the film Dickie is writing letters to ‘Wendy’, we eventually discover that ‘Wendy’ is the name Dickie gives to his gun, because of its feminine qualities. He forms an close relationship with his weapon.

After finding confidence from carrying around their guns, Dickie and Stevie decide to invite more of the town’s losers into their little gun club. This includes Susan the shy shopkeeper, Huey the town cripple (played by The Shermanator from the American Pie films) and his dumb brother Freddie. Calling themselves ‘The Dandies’, the group make a clubhouse by an old abandoned mine, and set up a target range. They also write poetry, dress in blindly put together period costumes and learn about exit wounds.

Things go wrong for the gang when Dickie is instructed by Sheriff Krugsby (Bill Pullman) to look after Clarabelle’s wayward grandson Sebastian. Sebastian has shot someone in the past, and is viewed as loose cannon by the Sheriff. There is an interesting racial dynamic here, in that the black young male is the catalyst for violence.

The concept of the film is potentially an interesting one, following a group who become obsessed with guns, though identify themselves as pacifists, but we are let down by poorly defined characters. Ideally The Dandies needed more time devoted to develop their quirkiness – the ‘Brideshead Stutter’, the period costumes, how they roam about the town at night. Also, the introduction of Sebastian is cack handed. He’s plonked into the film, dressed like an extra from a Baltimore street corner in ‘The Wire’, and the tension between him and Dickie (which admittedly builds quite nicely) disappears totally when Clarabelle is reintroduced.

Essentially ‘Dear Wendy’ is a modern day Western. A gang of misfits form in a sleepy mining town and then they fall foul of the law. An epic shootout then brings the film to a dramatically violent conclusion. What prevents the film from being a cult classic is the weak dialogue, when the characters speak their lines it feels unnatural, even when The Dandies begin to form their own club talk. I just imagine the film would work ten times better if the characters spoke in that Chandler-esque fashion that made Rian Johnson’s ‘Brick’ so special.

I suppose ‘Dear Wendy’ at the time was intended Vinterberg’s push into mainstream cinema. Had this been executed properly the director would probably be in the position where the guy who wrote this films screenplay currently sits.


Dear Wendy on IMDB
Buy Dear Wendy [DVD]

Fighting Caravans (1931)

Directed by: Otto Brower and David Burton

Gary Cooper plays Clint Belmet, a greenhorn frontier scout operating under the tutelage of a couple of wise old dogs. Cooper and the old dogs are charged with leading a train of freight wagons across the Country to sunny California. One of the dogs is played by a Scottish actor called Ernest Torrence, he really is the glue that holds the film together, and he delivers his lines in a brusque poetic manner. His voice reminds me a lot of the late Rugby commentator Bill McLaren.

We’re introduced to Belmet at a point where he finds himself behind bars and under threat of spending thirty days in jail due to his roguish actions. Thinking on his feet the wily Scotsman Ernest Torrence convinces a sultry French siren called Felice played by Errol Flynn’s future wife Lili Damita to pretend she is newly engaged to Belmet in order to get him pardoned by the town’s Sheriff. Felice is a lonely traveller hoping to make a new life in California and willingly goes along with the scam, in order to stay with the train. Throughout the film Belmet’s two colleagues prevent him from falling for Felice’s Gallic charms.

After the humorous beginning the trail trudges on. Despite the film running in at eighty minutes there is a great deal of irreverent prattle and plenty of plodding which makes for tedious viewing. The journey doesn’t seem to be much of a struggle, and it isn’t until the moment those dastardly Comanche’s drop by for big ol’ gun battle that the risk factor amps up several levels with arrows flying, damsels screaming and bodies falling.

Though Fighting Caravans contains some wonderfully shot scenes, such as the train crossing a river towards the end of movie, the film is quite a slog to sit through. I think this is mostly because Gary Cooper is such a dull, leaching screen presence. Whereas Ernest Torrence and Lili Damita are quite captivating performers, Cooper in comparison has no magnetism. I was disappointed by this, because compared to John Wayne and Gene Autrey in the recent nineteen thirties westerns that I have covered, Cooper is by far the weakest actor, and this is despite John Wayne delivering his lines in Randy Rides Alone like a voiceover artist for a local hospital radio station that has just came back from a Ayahuasca trip.

I think the most interesting thing connected to this film is that I discovered by way of Wikipedia that Errol Flynn and Lili Damita’s son Sean was a freelance photo journalist who disappeared in Cambodia whilst covering the Vietnam War. His photography is certainly worth seeking out.


Fighting Caravans on IMDB
Buy Fighting Caravans [1931] [DVD]