Monday, January 16, 2012

Texas (the movie)

Texas, a 1941 black and white Columbia Pictures production, stars 23-year-old William Holden and 25-year-old Glenn Ford as two appealing friends who experience a series of escapades before settling into roles on different sides of the law.  Claire Trevor stars as the love interest of both men.  Edgar Buchanan plays a dentist, and the manner in which he practices his profession makes me very glad I live in the 21st century!

The plot of Texas involves how to move cattle from there to Kansas without them being intercepted by rustlers; a crawler at the beginning of the movie sets the scene as Abilene in 1866, which is where Danny and Todd, the characters played by Holden and Ford, respectively, first appear.  Similarities to ASJ abound:  After the opening credits, there’s a scene in which a man says, “A little previous, ain’t ya?”, echoing almost word for word the same question asked by the station agent (Robert B. Williams) in Return to Devil’s Hole.

When Danny and Todd can’t afford to pay a court fine, a respectable citizen of Abilene offers to pay it for them, just as Amy Martin (Shirley Knight in The Ten Days that Shook Kid Curry) does in Ashford. There is a boxing match between Danny and a professional boxer, which bears little resemblance to the fight between Kid and Jim Stokely (Monte Markham in Something to Get Hung About).

Then, reversing the sequence of events in The Ten Days that Shook Kid Curry, when Danny and Todd are subsequently being chased by a posse, they decide to separate and meet up later, just as Heyes and Curry do.  At one point in the second half of the movie, the dentist sings Buffalo Gals and the boys sing along, reminding me of Michelle Monet (Claudine Longet in Journey from San Juan) except that in Texas, the singing by Edgar Buchanan was actually fun to watch and hear.

The relationship between the two main characters reminded me of the bond between Heyes and Curry but the chemistry that was evident between Pete Duel and Ben Murphy was not so noticeable in this film and the banter was not as sharp.  Nevertheless, Texas was a very enjoyable ninety-three minute film.

Pete Seeger sings Buffalo Gals: