Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Overlooked Movies: Texas Masquerade (1944)

As much as I love the series, there are still quite a few Hopalong Cassidy movies I haven’t gotten around to watching yet. Recently we watched one of those, TEXAS MASQUERADE from 1944, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

In this one, Hoppy and his two sidekicks California Carlson (Andy Clyde) and Jimmy Rogers (Jimmy Rogers) interrupt a stagecoach robbery and capture the bandit. They discover that a badly wounded passenger is a Boston lawyer on his way to Texas to claim his half of a ranch. Hoppy decides to take over the man’s identity while the hombre recuperates at the Bar-20. (Don’t ask why the guy was going from Boston to Texas by way of Arizona. Just don’t.) Hoppy’s motivation for this masquerade is pretty flimsy, but of course when he gets to Texas, he finds there’s all sorts of chicanery going on involving the beautiful girl who owns the other half of the ranch, a crooked lawyer, a brutal saloon owner, and a gang of night riders. Never fear, though, Hoppy, California, and Jimmy will set everything right.

Despite those snarky comments aimed at the script, I really had a great time watching this movie. And William Boyd clearly had a great time playing a high-falutin’, fancy-dressed, foppish Boston lawyer who swaggers into the saloon that’s the bad guys’ headquarters and orders milk. Andy Clyde is fine as California, as usual, and Jimmy Rogers does a good job as one of the alternating third wheels in this series. Russell Harlan’s photography is very good, production values are generally high with lots of riding extras and powder burning, and director George Archainbaud keeps things moving along briskly. The movie suffers a little because the villains seem weaker than usual. We know, of course, that they’re never going to stand a chance against Hoppy and his pards, but they never really put up much of a fight until the end.

That final showdown is pretty epic, though, and TEXAS MASQUERADE is also a good example of Crider’s Law: Any movie is improved by the addition of quicksand. I enjoyed this one enough that I think there’s a good chance I’ll be watching another Hopalong Cassidy movie pretty soon.

1 comment:

Caftan Woman said...

If there's a chance to go "undercover", Hoppy will jump at it.