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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Cowboy > B-Movie Series > Cisco Kid Western Collection (VCI/Monogram/Gilbert Roland)

Cisco Kid Western Collection (VCI/Monogram/Gilbert Roland)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C     Films: C+



Gilbert Roland was doing bit parts in silent films starting in the mid-1920s, but even they were hits, easily leading to supporting actor work in classics like Juarez and The Sea Hawk.  With the “good neighbor” policy of WWII, he further boosted his credentials and found himself in Angels With Broken Wings, The Desert Hawk, Captain Kidd and even an Ellery Queen mystery film.  Monogram gave him his own B-movie series with The Cisco Kid, producing six films.  Like the great Mr. Wong series, that was the limit, six films.


VCI has collected all of them in a new 2-DVD set including The Gay Cavalier (1946), Beauty & The Bandit (1946), South OF Monterey (1946), Riding The California Trail (1947), Robin Hood Of Monterey (1947) and King Of The Bandits (1947).  Each has Cisco as troubleshooter, doing the right thing ala The Lone Ranger, no matter what.  He is good, noble and puts up with things many would not.  Unfortunately, it becomes a formula quickly and though the debut film sets the tone, O. Henry’s hero only fares so well.  When the films do not work, Roland saves them to some extent, but Monogram was a Poverty Row studio and that shows here.  At least fans and the curious will have some highlights in these half-dozen films running just over an hour each.


The 1.33 X 1 black and white image is not great, but not awful.  The prints are lucky to survive at all and though we have seen better Monogram B-movie prints (see MGM’s Charlie Chanthology on this site), this is more typical of how their catalog survives.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is simple, dated and has some background noise along with other limits.  Extras include a teaser trailer for Roland’s co-starring gig in Beneath The 12-Mile Reef (see my soundtrack review elsewhere on this site) & four text bios on DVD 1 and five more text bios, plus trailers for the serial Zorro Rides Again, Any Gun Can Play and A Bullet For Sandoval.  Both have additional promos for VCI’s line-up.  Cisco Kid may not be a friend of mi9ne, but he might be yours if these films go over better with you.  Now you can check them all out together finally.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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