review for Santa Fe Marshal on AllMovie

Santa Fe Marshal (1940)
by Hans J. Wollstein review

A major stage star of the 1910s, Marjorie Rambeau played quite a few supporting roles onscreen in the 1930s and 1940s, usually cast as domineering women. In Santa Fe Marshal, the veteran trouper is allowed to ham it up as a supposedly kindhearted landlady turned cynical leader of a gang of cutthroats, emerging rather more convincing as the latter. The Cassidy series was at this point in time sans a regular comedy sidekick but, happily, Earl Hodgins is around to play a blustery snake-oil huckster in his best W.C. Fields-style and mostly getting away with it. Aside from a couple of free-for-alls and the noisy resolution, Santa Fe Marshal is played mainly for laughs. Although there are a few misses along the way -- hayseed Britt Wood attempting to hypnotize all and sundry quickly becomes weary -- most of the time it works. In a scene where Hoppy offers his services to the medicine show proprietor and his daughter, the film even manages to poke gentle fun of its Singing Cowboy rivals -- Paula: "But Dad, this man doesn't know anything about show business." Doc: "Well, we'll have him play the guitar." Hoppy (dubiously): "Me, playing a guitar?" Doc: "You said you used to be a cowboy, didn't you?" Hoppy: "Yes, but...." Doc: "Well, most cowboys nowadays play a guitar!"