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Image Entertainment presents
Robin Hood of Texas (1947)

Gene: Relax, your nerves are shot.
Droopy: Yes, and you're not helping.

- Gene Autry, Sterling Holloway

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: October 20, 2003

Stars: Gene Autry, Lynne Roberts, Sterling Holloway
Other Stars: The Cass County Boys, Champion Jr., Adele Mara, James Cardwell, John Kellogg, Ray Walker, Archie Twitchell
Director: Lesley Selander

Manufacturer: Deluxe
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence)
Run Time: 01h:11m:57s
Release Date: September 30, 2003
UPC: 014381400328
Genre: western


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- B-B+B- C+

DVD Review

Even more than usual, the title of this Gene Autry western has absolutely nothing to do with the story; although there's robbing from the rich, there's no giving to the poor to be seen. But the film is interesting as the final picture Autry made for Republic Pictures, his 61st film for that studio and the last before he formed his own production company.

Gene and the Cass County Boys (Autry's postwar backup band) are musicians who've hit the skids. A job playing in front of a music shop turns out to be a diversion that covers for a bank robbery by the gang of Duke Mantel (James Cardwell). Gene and the boys give chase but are arrested under suspicion of being involved. One of the group gets word that he's inherited the Hidden Valley Ranch (alas, no salad dressings), and the police let them go thinking that this will lead them to the rest of the gang and the missing money. Once at the ranch, they fix it up as a dude ranch with Virginia (Lynne Roberts). As coincidence would have it, Duke double-crosses his gang and heads for the dude ranch. Soon everyone's looking for the money and the police are back after Gene.

Directed by Lesley Selander, veteran of many Hopalong Cassidy films, this is rather an oddity. The gang segments have a noirish feel to them (Duke Mantel's name is a clear reference to Humphrey Bogart's turn as Duke Mantee in The Petrified Forest), and the body count is unusually high for the usually bloodless Autry westerns. Autry has not one but two love interests, being Virginia and Julie (Adele Mara), the gang's moll who is looking for access to Mantel's room. The highlight of the picture is comic Sterling Holloway, as Droopy Haynes, a hypochondriac shoe salesman who comes to the ranch for his nerves and gets more than he bargained for. Hank Patterson, best known today as Fred Ziffel from Green Acres, gives a hilariously laconic cameo performance as a taxi driver.

There aren't quite as many songs in this entry as is standard, and the chase sequences are pretty perfunctory; indeed, large chunks of one chase are snipped from an earlier Autry film. Songs included are:

There's Nothing Like a Good Old Fashioned Hoedown
Goin' Back to Texas
Merry-Go-Roundup
You're the Moment of a Lifetime
Goin' Back to Texas (reprise)

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The restored picture looks quite good. Speckling is only occasional, black levels are excellent, and textures are good. There is a bit of rainbow and moire at times, but the picture is generally clear. Although the film is grainy, the grain is very well-rendered and not sparkly or annoying.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: The audio is fairly good, although some segments suffer from a bit of noise and hiss. As usual, the library score segments don't sound nearly as good as the songs. There are fairly good bass levels for a mono soundtrack, however. Dialogue is clear throughout.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 5 cues and remote access
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Gaucho Serenade
Production Notes
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Radio show
  2. Production still and poster galleries
  3. Presskit
  4. Production materials
Extras Review: The Gene Autry Collection continues its series of decent extras for these discs, starting with Gene's reminiscences with Pat Buttram from a 1987 Melody Ranch Theater airing of this picture. This entry is more interesting than most, since it touches on Autry's unhappy parting with Republic and the litigation over his contract that went to the Supreme Court. Gene also discusses the other end of his career and his first picture with Ken Maynard and working with John Wayne. A Melody Ranch radio episode from June 1, 1947, when the film was released, is also included (23m:55s). The usual production notes, movie trivia, stills, lobby cards, presskit, and posters make up the rest of the package, together with the MPAA approvals of the film, pages from the shooting script, and a variety of legal clearances for the names of cities and institutions as well as discussion as to whether the actors can legally mention Sherlock Holmes.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

A strangely dark entry in the Gene Autry canon, given a nice transfer and the usual good extras. Worth a look for noir fans.

 


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