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Gangster's Den

USA 1945
produced by
Sigmund Neufeld for PRC
directed by Sam Newfield
starring Buster Crabbe (= Larry Crabbe), Al St. John, I. Stanford Jolley, Charles King, Emmett Lynn, Sydney Logan, Ed Cassidy, George Chesebro, Karl Hackett, Michael Owen, Wally West
written by George H. Plympton

Fuzzy, Billy Carson

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!
Riding to town to collect their men from Old Man Taylor's (Karl Hackett) saloon, mine owners Billy Carson (Buster Crabbe) & Fuzzy (Al St.John) encounter their new neighbour Ruth Lane (Sydney Logan) chasing off a couple of thugs with guns blazing. She tells them of a plot of local lawyer Horace Black (I.Stanford Jolley) to chase off local landowners to grab their land for a big mining operation.

Billy decides to investigate, while Fuzzy, learning that Old Man Taylor plans to leave town, shows an interest in buying his saloon ... & Taylor is happy to sell it to just about everyone but Black. Fuzzy even goes so far as to steal his & Billy's money from their mine to buy the place.

Too happy to get away with quite a sum, Old Man Taylor leaves town, but is soon enough gunned down & robbed by Black's men.

Meanwhile Black devices another plan to get his hands on the Lanes' ranch, as he lends huge sums of money to Ruth Lane's brother Jim (Michael Owen), but makes sure he loses every cent of it at a cards game ... which goes on until Jim owes the Lanes' ranch to Black. But to top it all off, Black sends some of his men with the deputy (Wally West) to evict the Lanes from their ranch (which is now legally Black's), & Black makes pretty sure that Jim fires an accidental shot at the deputy, too, then he has the deputy killed by his men & pins it on Jim. Only then does he report to the local sheriff that Jim killed the deputy. But when he tells Billy he called in the sheriff, & Billy soon afterwards spots him burning vital evidence that would prove that Jim did not shoot the deputy, Billy finds an opportunity to turn the tables against Black, as he joins forces with the sheriff (Ed Cassidy) & soon tricks one of Black's henchmen into making a statement, that not only clears Jim of the murder charge but also unveils some of Black's evil schemes.

Fuzzy meanwhile has grown tired of his saloon (it involving too much work) & is desperate to sell it to just about everyone, even if it is Black - the only one who can afford it in the first place), but is desperate to strike a deal with Black before he gets wind of Billy's plans to have him arrested ... & he receives Black's money just before Black is killed in the final shoot-out ...

 

Buster Crabbe & Al st.John were always one of the best hero-&-sidekick duos of the b-Western genre, as their relatively good acting skills, their chemistry, & Al St.John's versatility as a comic (after all he was trained at the Keystone Cops) would elevate even the cheap PRC westerns they were in above their budgetary limitations. Gangster's Den was one of the duo's more interesting ones since it moved above genre limitations & incorporated elements of crime melodrama (the subplot of cowboy Crabbe trying to thwart the schemes of an oily lawyer) & slapstick comedy (Fuzzy's attempts to run a saloon with the help of buffoons Emmett Lynn & Charles King [in a for him unusually funny role), before tying the 2 storylines up in a finale where Fuzzy desperately tries to get hold of the oily lawyer before the sinal shoot-out.

It might not be a classic Western, nor the best movie the duo was in, but it's entertaining b-fare nevertheless.

 

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 ...
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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
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out now on DVD