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Image Entertainment presents
Texans Never Cry (1951)

"I don't like this not knowing about women. I think a Ranger should know all he can."
- Gene Autry (Himself)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: July 29, 2004

Stars: Gene Autry, Champion, Pat Buttram, Gail Davis, Mary Castle
Other Stars: Tom Keene, Russell Hayden, Don C. Harvey, Roy Gordon, Minerva Urecal,
Director: Frank McDonald

Manufacturer: Deluxe
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild violence)
Run Time: 01h:06m:51s
Release Date: July 13, 2004
UPC: 014381231328
Genre: western

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C C+B+B+ C+

DVD Review

Usually the only romantic googly-eyes that Gene Autry made in his pictures were at his horse, Champion. That's the cowboy way, of course. But in this independently-produced entry released by Columbia in 1951, Gene not only finds himself involved romantically with good girl Gail Davis as usual, but also with a bad girl played by Mary Castle.

Gene is sergeant of a small band of Texas Rangers when he stumbles onto the eviction of Dan Carter (Harry Tyler) and his daughter Nancy (Davis). It seems that Carter bought $250 worth of counterfeit Mexican lottery tickets from Blackie Knight (Don C. Harvey), giving a mortgage on his ranch to double-dealing Tracy Wyatt (Tom Keene). When Wyatt's foreclosure is foiled by the Rangers, he determines to get even with Autry. A more widespread conspiracy to counterfeit lottery tickets is unearthed by the Rangers, and a Mexican agent (Richard Flato) gets murdered for his trouble. Gene decides to get more information on the scheme by romancing Rita Bagley (Castle), Wyatt's paramour, thereby driving Nancy to the affections of Steve Diamond (Russell Hayden), who just happens to be a hired gun brought in by Wyatt to rub Autry out of the picture.

The romantic angle is emphasized pretty heavily for an Autry Western; usually there's at most a perfunctory romance with Davis or Mary Lee or whoever's currently servicing the role. Here the romantic quadrilateral is a much more critical element of the plot and frankly gives the picture what suspense it has, since we know almost from the beginning that Wyatt and Knight are behind the counterfeiting operation. The question is reduced to whether Gene can prove it before he gets himself killed (or in too deep with the bad girl).

That's a ton of plot and soap opera development for less than 70 minutes of movie, and accordingly the usual song ratio takes a beating. There's only a short Bob Nolan tune, Ride, Ranger, Ride, plus the inane title song, penned by Autry. There's a fair amount of action, with some brawls and shootouts spiced up with a decent horse race (although the outcome surprisingly enough is fixed by the usual straight-arrow Autry). And of course, there's nauseatingly overwrought deification of everything Texan. If you want your Texas jingoism ladled on by the bucketful, here's your motion picture.

The supporting cast on Autry's side is reasonably good, with sidekick Pat Buttram as entertaining as usual, although he gets a short coda to the picture that makes absolutely zero sense. The romantic leads actually strike a few sparks with Autry, which is a bit unusual. Minerva Urecal has a memorable bit as Nancy's crotchety mother Martha. The bad guys are pretty thinly drawn, however, and Hayden's portrayal of Steve Diamond is virtually a blank; he goes through the motions but isn't credible no matter what he does. Stronger villains would have certainly helped make this rise above the run-of-the-mill B-Western.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The original full frame picture is generally attractive, though the grain is fairly heavy at times and occasionally becomes a bit sparkly. The bit rate is fairly low, so this might have been a good disc to master in RSDL form despite the brevity of the main program to allow a bit more breathing space for the bit rate. It doesn't look bad, but it could have looked better with more care.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: As usual, the sole audio track is a serviceable 2.0 mono English track. The pounding of horses' hooves during the race sequence has a surprising immediacy and depth on this track for some reason. Hiss and noise are only nominal, making for a quite acceptable period soundtrack.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 2 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English (closed captioned) with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
Production Notes
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Radio show
  2. Still, poster and lobby card galleries
  3. Pressbook
Extras Review: The Gene Autry Foundation supplies the usual valuable grouping of extras. First up is the Melody Ranch Theater introduction with Autry and Buttram. Autry starts by explaining the source of the goofy title song, and from there launches into the story of how he broke into show business at the urging of Will Rogers and got his first recording contract. It's not relevant at all to the film, but it's an interesting tale nonetheless. That's backed up by an episode of the Melody Ranch radio program from April 21, 1951, shortly before the theatrical release of the feature, with Pat Buttram as a costar.

But there's still more. Costar Gail Davis gets a three-screen bio plus two filmographies, and there's also a clip from an episode of her Annie Oakley series (these are identical with the same items on the Indian Territory disc). A set of production notes is supplemented by a gallery with about five dozen stills, and another gallery containing five lobby cards and four poster. Finally, there's the pressbook plus a separate gallery of tie-in (or "tie-up") products from the pressbook.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

A mediocre effort by Autry, with fewer songs and more romance than usual. The restoration is the usual high quality, though a higher bit rate would have helped. And of course, there's usual panoply of extras for the fans.


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