ALBUQUERQUE

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Albuquerque CoverNow if you thought Albuquerque was the largest state in New Mexico, straddling the Rio Grand, you're wrong you know. In actual fact it's the name of this rip-roaring adventure Directed by Ray Enright; and Starring: Randolph Scott, Barbara Britton, with Lon Chaney Junior. It was made in 1948, and lasted for a whole 90 minutes. Yeaaa-Hawww!


Albuquerque - Dead Freight for Piute


THE STORY:
Now how I see it, a man's got so many fights to fight, and so many ladies to please, before old age then settles in. But as for me on the other hand -- Ha! -- I seem to be doing alright so far.

Hello. My name is Cole Armin (Randolph Scott). And at the moment I'm doing everything in my power to stop my evil Uncle, John Armin (George Cleveland), from messing about with the good townspeople of Albuquerque.

For instance, when he secretly orchestrates a high-way robbery -- POW! -- I find a way of returning these ill gotten gains back to the rightful owner. And then, when I start a new freight firm with my gal-pal, Celia Wallace (Catherine Craig) -- BANG! -- I manage to stop him from bothering our business with my old buddy, Juke (Gabby Hayes).

Granted, Uncle John doesn't make it any easier for me because we're kin. Hell no! One way or another he always seems to find a way to sneak and slide out of trouble thanks to his pocket sheriff, Ed Linton (as Bernard J. Nedell), or his trusted-henchman, Steve Murkil (Lon Chaney, Jr.).

Then again, that's most probably explains why what next transpires kicks off when Letty Tyler (Barbara Britton) strolls on into town. As a ploy look as if it might work - a courtroom is full of a childish quirk - an expedition ends up going berserk - and as high noon rises, quite a bit of shooting finishes with a smirk.




THE REVIEW:
Now on the surface, 'Albuquerque' is the type of western that appears to have it all. You've got the all-American hero. You've got the pretty damsels in distress. You've got the token comedic foil. You've got the cinematic landscapes. Plus you've got all that good is good, and bad is bad, stuff, thrown in for good measure.  

Gabby Hayes with Catherine Craig
So can anybody out there please explain to me why I wasn't too keen on this film? Yeah. No kidding. From my own perspective this flick was so clean cut and well defined, it seemed to have something missing from it by default.

Admittedly. I suppose the first thing I wasn't very keen on was how each of the characters came across rather one-dimensional in tone. With each of them not having that 'true grit' swagger I'm sort of used to seeing within this type of production. Also, another thing I wasn't too happy about; would have to be its 'peachy keen' attitude and demeanor towards itself.  Compiled with a story-line that was a bit... errr... hit and miss in retrospect.

I mean, just tale a look at how this movie is structured for instance. It starts off with a five minute high-way robbery which introduces some of the principle characters. Then there is a ten minute sequence where this aforementioned robbery is figured out by the main-lead and his side-kick. And after that, there is a rather hodgepodge affair involving associations and a business that keeps on getting shagged by the main villain of this piece.

Hey. Don't get me wrong. 'Albuquerque' wasn't all down hill, folks. On occasion there were a couple of jovial and more connective scenes I loved watching. Like those scenes with Gabby Hayes or that little girl in for instance. Furthermore, here and there, there were also some nice character-building moments that pushed this piece further up in my own estimations. Like the courthouse scene. Or those 'romantic interludes'.


Albuquerque Film Poster


Albuquerque Movie Poster
But apart from that, though... err... no. No cigar for this adventure I'm afraid to say. Still. What it can have, are these filmic-facts. Ha! (1) 'Paramount Pictures' first released this production on the same day that the Rockabilly, Billy Zoom, was born -- the 20th of February, 1948. (2) Despite it's title, the majority of this movie was shot on location at Iverson Ranch, and Sedona, based in Chatsworth and Arizona respectively. (3) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'The Raid' in Portugal; 'The Avenger of Death Canyon' in West Germany; and 'The Romantic Defender' in Brazil. (4) One of the taglines used to promote this picture, was, 'It's got ALL-STAR Names! It's got ACTION-PACKED Thrills! It's got ADVENTURE-LOADED Romance! It's got AMAZING Colour!'. (5) Ray Enright, who directed this film, was in the business from 1921 to 1956, and directed such westerns as the 'Return of the Bad Men', 'Montana', and 'Kansas Raiders'. (6) This film was based on a 1939 novel written by Luke Short called 'Dead Freight for Piute'. (7) After this movie was unleashed, Randolph Scott starred in the western, 'Coroner Creek', Barbara Britton starred in the adventure, 'Mr. Reckless', and Lon Chaney Jr. starred in the crime-drama, 'The Counterfeiters'. (8) Within recent years this all-American classic has been re-mastered and re-released in color and its original black and white.


Albuquerque starring Randolph Scott and Gabby HayesAlbuquerque starring Lon Chaney, Jr


All in all 'Albuquerque' is a film that's both mumbled in plot and stilted in execution. Try to think of it as piece of writing paper. OK? It has a job to do, folks, and it does it to the best of its ability. Yet there aren't any bells or whistles tacked on for good measure, just the faint whiff of wholesome cheesiness wafting in the breeze.

Nuff said.

THE RATING: B-