BLACK SPURS (1965)

Rory Calhoun

BLACK SPURS was 4th  in the  13  A.C.Lyles western series of the 1960s. It felt as if  it was much later in the series, because the plot was tired and not well written.

Regulars Bruce Cabot, Lon Chaney and Richard Arlen are on the scene but with little to do. Rory Calhoun leads the cast as a man who wants to raise some money and marry his fiancée (played by Terry Moore). He decides to go after a bank robber called ‘El Pescadore’ who is  known for the black spurs he wears.

Calhoun tracks the robber for 10 mths before he captures him. He takes off the robber’s black spurs as proof he killed him.

There’s no sign he has kept in touch with Terry  whom he finds has married and left town. He decides to become a bounty hunter full time, and starts wearing the notorious spurs.

Next he’s in Kansas and takes a job from Lon Chaney who wants the railroad to run through his town by making the other candidate town lawless. For $50,000, Calhoun says he’ll get it done.

Rory Calhoun, Lon Chaney

The other town (called Lark) just happens to be the one Calhoun’s ex-girlfriend has settled as the wife of the sheriff (James Best).  Calhoun brings in gambler Bruce Cabot and Linda Darnell and her saloon gals.

There’s a touch of Randolph Scott’s “Bounty Hunter” in the plot – some of the citizenry are anxious at his appearance.

It’s all very predictable, though it was a surprise to see Scott Brady as a fighting preacher!

Rory Calhoun, Scott Brady

It could have been so much better and the cast really are let down by the script.

What makes the film a sad experience was seeing Linda Darnell in what was basically a walk-on part. This was her last film – Linda died in 1965 aged 41 after a house fire.

A.C.Lyles, Linda Darnell

I don’t what happened to Linda’s career in the 50s. She had started in films in 1939 and within a year she was co-starring with Tyrone Power in THE MARK OF ZORRO. Throughout the 1940s she had been in many successes – HANGOVER SQUARE, FALLEN ANGEL, FOREVER AMBER, A LETTER TO THREE WIVES, MY DARLING CLEMENTINE.

By the time of Black Spurs, Linda hadn’t made a film since 1957. She still looked lovely .

On the set. Rory Calhoun, Terry Moore.

I’m perservering with this series but so far only a couple have been good.

 

 

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4 responses »

  1. I admire your stamina in persevering with what is by all accounts, and from the little I’ve seen myself, an essentially dispiriting series of movies.
    Darnell’s fate was deeply tragic and her career had already been in decline for some time, mainly due to a succession of unsuccessful films.

    • Perhaps I saw the best ones first but I’m ever hopeful that there may still be some that are worth seeing. A.C. Lyles had tight budgets and schedules so I doubt a lot of time were spent on the scripts which is a pity because he certainly had a very good cast ensemble.

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