Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Overlooked Movies: Git Along Little Dogies (1937)

Some of the first movies I remember seeing on TV when I was a kid are the B-Westerns starring Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Back then I liked them both pretty much equally, although as time went on I became much more of a Roy Rogers fan. Even so, every so often I get the urge to watch one of Gene’s movies, so I took a look recently at GIT ALONG LITTLE DOGIES from 1937. There’s a chance I saw this one on TV, but if I did, it was nearly 60 years ago and I had no memory of it.

This is very much one of those oddball hybrids where contemporary technology such as cars, trucks, telephones, and radio stations exist alongside cowboys who gallop around on horseback and pack shootin’ irons. Gene plays a rancher who starts out opposed to an oil well being drilled in what has always been cattle country. He’s afraid it’s going to ruin the water supply. He changes his mind when he finds out that if oil is discovered, the railroad will build a spur line into the valley, and the benefit of this to the cattlemen will outweigh the problems of having oil rigs around. This plotline is complicated by Gene’s on-going feud with the pretty girl who runs the local radio station, whose banker father has a stake in the oil well. Then some big city gangsters show up and Gene really has his hands full.

The script by Dorrell and Stuart McGowan (who wrote some pretty good movies during their career) is actually fairly complicated, although it’s never any real secret who the hidden mastermind behind all the trouble really is. GIT ALONG LITTLE DOGIES was directed by Joseph Kane, who kept the action scenes moving along nicely. Kane directed many of the early Roy Rogers films and knew his way around a B-Western. There’s some good stunt work, and Autry, who was never a good rider or athlete, tries gamely to do his part, although it’s often clear that he’s being doubled by somebody else.

One drawback with this film, as far as I’m concerned, is that there are too many musical numbers and most of them seem even hokier than usual. Smiley Burnette plays Frog Millhouse, Gene’s sidekick, and while I thought Frog was hilarious when I was a kid, a little of him goes a long way now.

I don’t want to sound too critical, though. I enjoyed GIT ALONG LITTLE DOGIES quite a bit, enough so that I wouldn’t mind watching some of Gene’s other movies. There are quite a few of them I either haven’t seen or have totally forgotten.


Anonymous said...

I've been watching Autry movies available on our cable TV network. Just to prove that everyone has different taste, I particularly enjoy the musical numbers, although some are much better than others. Oddly enough, Smiley Burnette has grown on me, and I like him more than I did as a child. But I'm a sucker for old-time country and western music, and I'm intrigued by Smiley because he began his career in my part of the country. I used to drive past his home town of Summum, IL, frequently. And I saw him when he made a personal appearance in my home-town movie house.

James Reasoner said...

I still like Smiley, just not as much as I did when I was a kid. And oddly enough, some of the sidekicks I didn't care for then, like California Carlson and Fuzzy St. John, are favorites of mine now. That's pretty cool, having seen Smiley in person. I saw Roy and Dale at the Stock Show Rodeo in Fort Worth. And my dad knew Gene when both of them were in the radio station business, but I never met him. I definitely plan to watch more Autry movies.