Sunday, August 23, 2015

FRONTIER RANGERS (1959)



If this smells to you like an early TV series, you would be right. Not much to add here. It is compiled from edited episodes of the series “Northwest Passage” distributed by MGM, not Disney. These edits make the “movie” highly episodic finding yourself off-subject more than once. Surprisingly, some of the action can be a bloody affair as Indians succumb to a well-placed hatchet in the chest or head. Nothing gory as the series was broadcast in black and white. Still, a definitive way to expire. An embarrassing, child-like opening theme song sets the stage for kids in boomer land. Much of the background music is hacked together with some unusual results. Mostly shot under studio lights on a sound-stage, it is made worse by studio-enhanced vocals and obvious stuntmen stepping in for Keith Larson (handsome hero hatchet king) or sidekick Buddy Ebsen for levity. Don Burnett makes up the trio. On the positive side, there are outdoor scenes (perhaps reused from feature films) making it all look rather authentic. As a TV series, I can imagine a 10-year old looking forward to the next episode. The actors do their best to sell the story.

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