This week’s mystery movie was the 1948 King Bros. movie “The Dude Goes West,” with Eddie Albert, Gale Storm, James Gleason, Gilbert Roland, Binnie Barnes and Barton MacLane.
Original screenplay by Mary Loos and Richard Sale. Music score composed and conducted by Dimitri Tiomkin.
Arthur Gardner, assistant to producers, photography by Karl Struss, production manager Herman E. Webber, set decoration by Sidney Moore, edited by Richard Heermance, dialogue direction by Jo Graham.
Special effects by Ray Mercer, sound engineer Tom Lambert, assistant director Frank S. Heath, technical advisor, Herman King.
Produced by Maurice King and Frank King. Directed by Kurt Neumann.
“The Dude Goes West” is available on DVD from Warner Archive.
I chose “The Dude Goes West” on the basis of the review in Showmen’s Trade Review (May 1, 1948), despite the presence of Gale Storm. Didn’t we just do her? Yes, we did. It’s an amusing little comedy that pokes gentle fun at westerns.
The King Brothers score again with a hilarious satire on westerns that contains so much entertainment and fun that not only will the entire family enjoy it, but they’ll also insist that their friends see it too. Don’t let this offering pass you by.
Get behind this and sell it to the hilt, for with plenty of advance exploitation it should turn out to be one of the sleepers of the season.
… This is delightful entertainment from start to finish and the exhibitor who fails to take advantage of “The Dude Goes West” may well find himself considerably out of pocket. Crammed with humorous situations and presented expertly by the King Bros., it is a picture that will provide 87 minutes of rollicking amusement for the entire family. In classification, it is a satire on westerns, but one that is completely different due to the masterful handling of the comedy situations and the etching of the characters.
…. Much credit goes to Richard Sale and Mary Loos for their hilarious script, from which Kurt Neumann in his direction lost no opportunity for laughs. With this offering the King. Bros. take another step forward in their proven ability as picture-makers, this being especially true since this is their first wide-open-spaces offering. Correct selling and exploitation should turn this film into one of the sleepers of the season, so get behind it.
In contrast, Modern Screen panned the movie and the New York Times did not review it.
This is one of the more anemic Westerns. The plot should be in the Smithsonian Institution (it’s that aged) and the acting is strictly vanilla stuff, except for Jimmy Gleason, who does right by the part of Sam, a bewhiskered old prospector who can really put over a cowboy song, and good-looking Gilbert Roland as Pecos, one of the countless badmen. Sophisticated Binnie Barnes is miscast as head of the gang that want the map and Eddie Albert is like a fish out of water in a straight role.
Produced by the King Bros., Frank and Maurice, who really should know better, “The Dude Goes West” is only for the most insatiable Western fans.
For Monday, we have a mystery lad.
Update: This is not Billy Gray, but Noel Parenti, thanks to detective work by Mary Mallory!
For Tuesday, we have a mystery borough.
In the Golden Age of film, Brooklyn was always good for a laugh. Always.
Also for Tuesday, we have this mystery book dealer. He approves of such goings-on.
Update: This is Francis Pierlot.
And finally, we have this mystery woman. She does not approve of such goings-on.
Update: This is Catherine Doucet.
Note: Monday’s mystery lad is not identified in the cast list, IMDB, or the AFI catalog, even though he gets a fair amount of screen time and several lines of dialogue. A child actor of the day is the heavy favorite as our mystery lad, so on Saturday, I’ll post a known photo of him from another movie released at the same time so we can compare them. Curiously enough, he gets screen credit in that film. Players in our mystery movie with fewer lines and less screen time are credited, while he isn’t. Quite odd. I do not approve of such goings-on.
In the meantime, these folks have voted for this child actor as our mystery lad: Robert Hansen, Michael Ryerson, Jenny M., Janet Hoffman and Jenny Lerew.
For “Hm Wednesday,” we have this mystery guest doing something illicit on the sleeping car of a train. He will soon be asleep himself – permanently – as one of the passengers does not approve of such goings-on.
Update: This is Dewey Robinson.
We also have these three mystery guests.
Update: This is Chris Willow Bird, Chief Yowlachie and Tony Urchel.
And finally, we have this mysterious gent.
Update: This is Harry Hayden.
Brain Trust roll call: B.J. Merholz (Tuesday’s mystery book dealer).
For “Aha Thursday,” we have this mystery gentleman with a significant “Aha” quotient.
Update: This is James Gleason.
We also have this “Aha” gentleman.
Update: This is Barton MacLane.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie and all mystery guests, including a nice bit of detective work to find the true identity of our mystery lad), Floyd Thursby (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests), Michael Ryerson (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guests), Sheila (mystery movie and Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests), B.J. Merholz (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery robber), and Bruce Reznick (Wednesday’s mysterious sleeping car robber).
For Friday, we have these two Mystery Movie alumni….
Update: This is Binnie Barnes and Gilbert Roland.
…and here’s another Mystery Movie alum….
Update: This is Gale Storm, who pouts through most of the movie.
…finally, our mysterious leading man.
Update: This is Eddie Albert.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Thursday’s mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery guests), Michael Ryerson (Thursday’s mystery guests), Benito (Thursday’s mystery bad guy), Dan Nather (Wednesday’s mystery sleeping car robber), Thom and Megan (mystery movie and Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests), Blackwing Jenny (Thursday’s mysterious comical sidekick), Roget-L.A. (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery guests) and Sylvia E. (mystery movie, Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests).