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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Mystery > The Fighting Westerner (1935 aka Rocky Mountain Mystery)

The Fighting Westerner (1935/Roan Group)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C     Film: C+



The older titles of The Paramount Pictures catalog was sold by the company itself in the late 1940s as TV came in and they have not owned the films since.  This included some of the most interesting and important films ever made in the Classical Hollywood era, but Universal rarely delves into the collection.  New owners NBC/General Electric have not begun either.  That leaves companies like The Roan Group trying to get the rights and copies to any gem they can.  Charles Barton’s Mystery/Western The Fighting Westerner (1935) is one such interesting film.


A rich old man has a will, which looks like the motivation for a sudden series of murders.  Cowboy officer Larry Sutton suddenly turns detective to investigate.  Showing the studio system at its best, this B-movie is based on the work of Zane Grey and offers an early appearance by star-to-be Ann Sheridan as the female lead.  As was the case at the studio, the film has solid veteran actors and even in a lower-budget work, production values are pretty good considering.  It is not bad, if too simple, but a fine example of what the studio did so well in its time and film fans cannot see enough from this era of the studio’s production.  Mystery fans will get a kick out of it too.


The 1.33 X 1 image was shot by the great Archie Stout, A.S.C., and is good work, though the image is a little softer than we had hoped for a recent Roan/Troma release.  However, better to have this print than none, which is from another production company who handled the film after Paramount lost it to the Universal catalog.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is passable and good for its age of 70 years and is at least a generation down.  Extras include and introduction by critic Lou Lumenick, and first chapters to two serials Roan has on DVD: The Last Frontier and Zorro’s Black Whip.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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