Mexicali Rose (1939)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Western  |   Release Date - Mar 27, 1939 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Hans J. Wollstein

Perhaps the quintessential Gene Autry Western, Mexicali Rose has just about everything, including a tuneful title song, unscrupulous blackguards, comic opera Mexican vaqueros, a gaggle of fairly tolerable child performers, and a typical crooked capitalists-versus-honest folks plot. It also delivers one of those key scenes that goes a long way to explain the Gene Autry phenomena: Gene and sidekick Frog Millhouse (Smiley Burnette) are kidnapped by gruff but lovable Mexican outlaw Noah Beery, who, it turns out, is a huge fan of Autry the recording artist and travels complete with a gramophone. But one of the vaqueros breaks a favorite recording of "Mexicali Rose" and the real, tied-up Gene takes over, the music accompaniment now apparently pouring out from the Heavens. That this potentially maudlin scene plays much better than it reads is to the enduring credit of Gene Autry himself.