Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Tuesday's Overlooked Movies - Billy the Kid's Gun Justice

I hadn't watched a B-Western in a long time, so when I had a free hour I took a look at BILLY THE KID'S GUN JUSTICE from 1940, one of six Billy the Kid movies Bob Steele made for the notoriously cheap Producers Releasing Corporation. Sigmund Neufeld was the head of PRC, and most of the movies from them were directed by his brother Sam Newfield, who did this one under the name Peter Stewart.

The title doesn't really fit this one, since there's not much gunplay at all. Plenty of fistfights, though, which was pretty common in Bob Steele's movies. The plot is very standard land swindle stuff, but Billy the Kid (who was framed for most of the crimes he's blamed for, according to these movies) settles things with the bad guys by running a con on them, which is sort of a nice change of pace.

Bob Steele was an affable, athletic hero at this stage of his career before he spent most of his time playing villains and character parts. You can't help but like his Billy the Kid. His sidekick is Al "Fuzzy" St. John, admittedly an acquired taste, but I like him. And one of the villains is Charles King, who with his portly frame and lounge lizard mustache always seemed like an odd type for a Western henchman to me, but I've got to admit, I enjoy watching his work.

BILLY THE KID'S GUN JUSTICE is a really minor film, but I had a pleasant time watching it. The whole thing is available on YouTube if you want to have a look.


Oscar Case said...

Nice review, thanks for the info.

Sean McLachlan said...

I'd never heard of PRC's Billy the Kid series and watched this on your recommendation. For me, Al St. John was the best part of the movie. You could really see his silent film comedy background in some of the routines. He's also unusually active for a sidekick, saving the team in the first scene and moving the plot along in many places. Thanks!