In Old Santa Fe (1934)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Western  |   Release Date - Nov 15, 1934 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 62 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Hans J. Wollstein

Both the story line and the behind-the-scenes goings-on in In Old Santa Fe proved harbingers of things to come. Here is Ken Maynard, B-Western history's perhaps most romantic, and romanticized, cowboy star battling modern day gangsters, both on horseback (the magnificent palomino Tarzan) and in automobiles. Yet the sentiment remains very much the Old West. And here is Gene Autry, then billed as "Cowboy Idol of the Air," and future sidekick Smiley Burnette making their initial screen appearances -- Gene rather stiffly warbling C. Harold Lewis' "Down in Old Santa Fe" and "Wyoming Waltz", Smiley making shambles of his own "Mama Don't Allow". No one knew it at the time, but Autry would soon after replace the increasingly difficult (and evermore whiskey-soaked) Maynard in the serial The Phantom Empire (1935) and, as they say, the rest is history. Maynard's contract with Mascot Pictures was unceremoniously cancelled and Autry went on to unprecedented stardom in his stead. In Old Santa Fe also presents a very recognizable George "Gabby" Hayes, years before he retained that sobriquet, a Hayes very much in the curmudgeonly character he would further refine as Windy in the Hopalong Cassidy films. All of which makes for fascinating and never dull B-Western viewing.