My Outlaw Brother (1951)

Genres - Action, Western  |   Sub-Genres - Traditional Western  |   Run Time - 82 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Although it's odd to see the 1951 version of Mickey Rooney in a Western, My Outlaw Brother owes its very modest appeal to his presence, as well as the presence of co-stars Robert Stack (as the brother) and Robert Preston. They're an odd trio to bring together in one movie, to be sure, but they each have a particular sort of charisma and style, something that Outlaw as a whole lacks. Gene Fowler's screenplay is terribly predictable; it's pretty much a standard issues good brother vs. bad brother scenario, with the added layer of the good brother being a city slicker; one doesn't even have to see the film to imagine how it all plays out, and one would rarely be wrong. Some snappier, more characterful direction would have helped matters, but Elliott Nugent seems to be operating pretty much on automatic pilot here; he gets things done, but without a great deal of flair. The sets are fine, if not particularly impressive. All of this leaves it up to the stars, who may not be turning in dazzling performances but who do provide a good degree of distraction and pleasure.