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Category:    Home > Reviews > Serial > Western > Adventure > Painted Stallion (VCI serial)

The Painted Stallion (Serial/VCI)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C     Chapters: C+



Though Disney’s new Alamo (2004) was one of the year’s big bombs so far, all the companies who have anything related to the story or characters are coming out on DVD one way ort another.  To add to the several Alamo-related DVDs we have already covered is the 1937 Republic serial The Painted Stallion, which brings a pre-teen Kit Carson together with Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie.  It is preposterous, but this is the same company who put John Wayne in a 1933 serial version of The Three Musketeers.


With that said, this is energetic fist-fighting, horse riding Western action that involves the title horse, Native Americans (still as “Indian” stereotypes) who shoot the noisiest arrows in cinema history (think a small bi-plane plummeting) and more silly talk than we needed.  The 12 chapters are uneven, but have their moments and some of the cliffhangers work, while others are a hoot.  It may be choppy and sillier with the more you know about The Alamo, but the spirit of the piece is not bad, which helps it from aging badly.


The full frame monochrome image shows its age and looks like it is off of an NTSC analog master, which explains the extra darkness in darker scenes.  Otherwise, the film material it was made with is not bad and this is the best version of the serial on DVD just the same.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is a bit small sounding and slightly warped at times, but serviceable for its age.  It is a couple generations down.  The only extras include four other serial trailers, a promo for all the VCI serials already issued (which are many), a photo gallery set to music and biography info on some of the participants.


Ray “Crash” Corrigan, best known for the wacky Republic serial Undersea Kingdom (finally back in print from VCI) lost the “Crash” as the lead here with Hoot Gibson and serial regulars Duncan Reynaldo, Jack Perrin, Yakima Canutt, Duke Taylor and Charles King.  William Witney, Alan James and Ray Taylor co-directed the happenings and it makes for yet another twisted, amusing chapter in the mis-history of those involved in The Alamo, even if this was “the early years” for kids.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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