The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

WESTWARD HO (1935) ** ½


No, this flick isn’t about a lonely hooker who goes out west to become a pioneer prostitute.  It’s all about John Wayne getting a posse of vigilantes together called “The Singing Cowboys” who go riding out on the plains wearing black shirts looking for the men who killed his parents and kidnapped his brother.  When they aren’t busy hunting down criminals, the vigilantes hunker down by a fire and sing cheesy campfire songs.  When Wayne offers to help a group of cattlemen deliver their herd, he doesn’t realize that he’s being set up by the gang of outlaws he’s looking for, or that his long lost brother is now one of their deadliest guns.   


When you think of a vicious vigilante, a singing cowboy isn’t the first thing that immediately comes to mind.  If you can get past some of the hokey songs, you’ll enjoy seeing a young John Wayne do what he does best, namely ride a horse, get into bar fights, shoot the bad guys, and get the girl.  If you can’t groove to all the B western clichés, you’ll at least get a kick out of Wayne’s atrociously dubbed singing voice. 


I don’t know about you, but I always enjoyed watching The Duke more in these early pictures than his more famous later films.  It’s neat seeing him paying the rent in these B oaters when he was young and fresh faced, relying less on his patented persona and more on his amiable acting chops.  Another thing I like about these old Wayne B westerns is that they most always run just over an hour long and move at a bristling pace.  While this one may slow down a bit for the occasional song, it’s still about on par with most of his material from around the same time. 


Famous stuntman Yakima Canutt and future Frankenstein Glenn Strange also have small roles.  Director R.N. Bradbury was also behind the camera for some of the Duke’s best stuff from the 30’s including ‘Neath Arizona Skies, The Man from Utah and The Star Packer. 

Tags: john wayne, w, western
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