Friday, April 23, 2010

The Desperadoes

The Desperadoes has great fanfiction potential! Here's why: In 1863, a man arrives in Red Valley, Utah, at the behest of two of the town's upstanding citizens, to rob the bank. Unfortunately, he was delayed, the instigators didn't wait and hired other men to do the job but in the course of blowing the safe, three people were killed.

The outlaw who was supposed to rob the bank calls himself Bill Smith but his real name is Cheyenne Rogers; this character is played by Glenn Ford. He meets a young woman named Allison, played by Evelyn Keyes, and falls in love. Cheyenne wants to go straight but he keeps getting recognized and so he has to keep running. He's friends with the town's sheriff, Steve, played by Randolph Scott; at some point in the past, they were partners in Wyoming. Cheyenne now has a sidekick, played by Guinn (Big Boy) Williams, who's named Nitro for what is an obvious reason.

Sound familiar? Here are some more similarities: There's a big fight in a saloon, reminiscent of Six Strangers in Apache Springs, for while the main room is being destroyed, the men playing poker in an alcove of the saloon remain relatively unscathed; there's a real exciting chase scene in the middle of The Desperadoes where a posse is chasing Cheyenne and Nitro after a bank robbery; there's a jailbreak; nitro is used, though it's handled considerably less carefully than Heyes did in How to Rob a Bank in One Hard Lesson; and mention is made of serving twenty years for bank robbery. Plus, one character says, "It'll be no trouble at all," harking back to what Kid says in The Fifth Victim; and Cheyenne is referred to as "a good bad man."

It's hard to believe that The Desperadoes was made in 1943 and was Columbia's first in Technicolor. The colors are vivid and the movie is not dated at all. The cast is large, with many extras as well as lots of animals--it doesn't look like any expense was spared even though the film was made during wartime. At only 83 minutes (and no bonus features), the story is compelling, the acting is excellent, and it's almost eerie watching a film that parallels ASJ in so many ways.

It would be great to see a movie sequel or read some fanfiction that continues the stories of the main characters in The Desperadoes. I highly recommend this film!