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Image Entertainment presents

Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride (1940)

"Sounds like there's a horse in the room...."- Ann Randolph (June Storey)

Stars: Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, June Storey, Mary Lee
Other Stars: Warren Hull, Forbes Murray, Joe McGuinn, Joe Frisco, Isabel Randolph, Herbert Clifton, Si Jenks, The Packemakers
Director: Frank McDonald

Manufacturer: Deluxe
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild western violence)
Run Time: 01h:05m:07s
Release Date: 2006-02-28
Genre: western

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+B+B- B


DVD Review

While some of Gene Autry's films tend more towards action, and others emphasize show business and music, and a few take some tentative steps into actual romance, not many of them go for flat-out comedy. But Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride (featuring the popular title song by Johnny Mercer) does so, and the result is one of the most thoroughly enjoyable pictures in the Gene Autry Collection yet issued on DVD.

Gene and his buddy Frog Millhouse (Smiley Burnette) are working as ranchhands for the Randolph Packing Company, when Gene gets word that he's sole heir to a competing outfit, the Belmont Packing Co. To his surprise, the Randolph Packing Co. is owned by two sisters, Ann Randolph (June Storey) and Patsy (Mary Lee). Ann, with the connivance of her boyfriend, is determined to corner the market by eliminating Belmont, either by buying it out or stealing all its business. But Patsy isn't exactly on board with this plan, and Gene certainly isn't willing to play along, especially once he learns that all of Belmont's employees will be laid off as a result.

The picture features a number of terrific comedy setpieces, the best of which is when Mary Lee (in the fifth of nine roles as a 'Patsy' in an Autry picture) convinces him to play along with the idea that she's his child bride, to the disapproval of the onlookers. Her rivalry with Storey (in the last of ten collaborations with Autry) is quite entertaining as well, as is the competition to lure cattlemen to sign with the respective packing outfits. Among the ruses used are singing and dancing girls, featuring Cindy Walker (composer of Blue Canadian Rockies, among others of Gene's hits) and the Pacemakers. Several segments venture into the surreal and the slapstick, with horses and cattle making appearances in the strangest of places. Add in vaudevillian Joe Frisco and the result is highly amusing. The snappy and fast-paced script is by Winston Miller, who worked on Gone with the Wind and would later pen My Darling Clementine. There's some sentiment and corn in the situation that Frank Capra would be proud of.

But there's more than just comedy here too. The finale is a traditional action sequence as Gene races on Champion to stop the bad guys from blowing up a train (though why exactly they intend to do so is pretty flimsy). But it's a good excuse for one of the more amazing stunts in one of Autry's pictures. Finally, there's a splendid assortment of songs that aren't necessarily familiar but are certainly tuneful and have their own charm. The resulting package is fun from start to finish.

The songs are:

When the Work's All Done This Fall
Eleven More Months and Ten More Days
That Was Me by the Sea
Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride
Leanin' on the Ol' Top Rail
Oh! Oh! Oh!
On the Ranch

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: The full frame picture is once again nicely restored, although one reel in the middle appears to be from a lower grade source and suffers from slight dupiness. On the whole, the rest of the film has good detail and plenty of texture and greyscale.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The 1.0 English audio has the hiss and noise would would anticipate for a film of its vintage. The songs sound decent though naturally lacking any significant bass or presence.

Audio Transfer Grade: B- 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 8 cues and remote access
Production Notes
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Radio show
  2. Still, art and presskit galleries
  3. Production materials
Extras Review: Once again, Gene and sidekick Pat Buttram reminisce in the 1987 Melody Ranch Theatre segments for this film. They recall Joe Frisco and June Storey, among other tales. The Melody Ranch radio show from October 27, 1940, when this film was new, provides some lessons to some youngsters bent on riding the range instead of going to school.

Most of the rest of the extras are in the form of slideshows. A substantial set of stills (over 75 in all) plays over selected songs from the film. Another gallery includes lobby cards and posters, while a third gives a look at the US and British presskits. A set of production materials includes some hints that there were troubles with the title, but details are tantalizingly elusive. Finally, Alex Gordon provides a set of production notes and trivia about the film and Gene's career.

Extras Grade: B

Final Comments

Very much a cut above the usual B-western musical, this is highly entertaining. The DVD features another good transfer and the usual wide array of extras.

Mark Zimmer 2006-03-02