review for Hell Town on AllMovie

Hell Town (1937)
by Hans J. Wollstein review

The problem with Hell Town, truth be told, is John Wayne. Having starred in scores of ultra-low budget Westerns for Monogram and Republic Pictures, Wayne had gotten too used to playing the spotless hero to give the role of Dare Rudd in Hell Town any kind of shading. Dare, however, is the quintessential good-bad man, a charming drifter surviving on his own terms. But Wayne portrays him exactly as he would the many squeaky-clean cowboys he had played in the Monogram "Lone Star" budget oaters. It would take John Ford and Stagecoach (1939) for the actor to at long last find a director with enough confidence in his totally natural acting ability and a character worth more than a superficially competent performance.