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The Gallant Fool

USA 1933
produced by
Paul Malvern for Monogram Pictures
directed by Robert N. Bradbury
starring Bob Steele, Arletta Duncan, George Hayes (= Gabby Hayes), John Elliott, Perry Murdock, Theodore Lorch, Pascale Perry, George Nash, Vane Calvert, Steve Clemente, Anne Howard, Si Jenks
screenplay by Harry L. Fraser, based on a story by John P. McCarthy, cinematography by Faxon Dean

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Kit Denton (Bob Steele) is an acrobat with Rainey's (Theodore Lorch) circus, where he performs high wire acts together with his father (Gabby Hayes). But when they want to set up tent in a quiet little Western village, MacDonald (John Elliott), one of the bigget & mightiest landowners in the region, tries to chase them off. But since MacDonalds is not the law as such, Rainey, with the support of most of the locals, decides to put on a sshow anyhow.

Father Denton is nevous though, playing in these parts of the country, since around here he's wanted for murder. Just a good thing that during his act he is in clown make-up ... but somehow, MacDonald spots him anyhow, without make-up, & he tells his right hand man Connors (Perry Murdock) to take care of him ...

The night of the shw: MacDonald has come to see the show anyhow, together with Martha (Vane Calvert), the woman he loves (unrequitted). When during an act, dad Denton spots Martha though, he loses concentration for a moment ... & his son is almost gravely injured because of that.

Later, during an aerial-act, Connors shoots him from the tent's top, & it's only thanks to his son that he doesn't fall to his death & survives it all only slightly injured.

Soon enough, Kit can apprehend Connors & make him talk - & he confesses that MacDonald is behind it all. Kit then goes after MacDonald, but as soon as he confronts him, MacDonald is shot by Connors, who has somehow grabbed a gun of one of those guarding him (as to why, I have not the slightest clue).

With his dieing brath, MacDonald confesses that Martha is indeed dad Denton's sweetheart & Kit's mother, but he was madly in love with her (& still is) & framed dad Denton with a murder MacDonald himself actually committed, to get rid of the competition ... but to no avail, Martha has waited for dad Denton all these years. & finally, as Denton is cleared of the charges against him, he & Martha can stay together.

 

Robert N.Bradbury was never a man who cared too much about genre conventions if they were in the way of telling a story, so it comes as no big surprise that this film, marketed as a Western, took the genre to the circus (literally) & played much more like a backstage melodrama, with a bit of mystery thrown in.

The combination of Western & circus at least makes some sense, since many of the actors & especially stuntmen (who in those times often also had small acting roles in the films they stunted in) had their roots in the circus or vaudeville (& among them director Robert N.Bradbury).

The film as such though is one of Bradbury's lesser works, way too much time is spent with the depiction of circus performances while the rather thin story takes back seat.

 

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
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