Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Go West, Young Lady

If you happen to have the Encore package, you'll have a chance to catch the entertaining comic western Go West, Young Lady, tomorrow morning at 6:20 AM. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be available on DVD, so this wil be your only chance to catch it.

Penny Singleton stars at Belinda Pendergast, although everybody calls her Bill. Bill is on a stagecoach out to the old west town of Headstone, where she's going to live with her uncle Jim (Charlie Ruggles), who ones the local hotel. She happens to be on the same stage as Tex (Glenn Ford), who has been sent out west to be the town's new sheriff, the town having problems keeping a sheriff thanks thanks to Pete and his gang constantly terrorizing the town in an attempt to get everybody to leave so they can have the land. (Where's James Garner when you need him?) Anyhow, the stagecoach gets attacked by Indians along the way, which is where we learn that Tex isn't the greatest of shots, while Bill is a crack shot.

The stagecoach arrives in Headstone, and Jim is thrilled about two things. First is that his nephew Bill is on the coach; second is that the not only is the town going to get that new sheriff, that sheriff is going to be his nephew to boot! Well, isn't Jim in for a surprise. (Jim hadn't seen his late brother for decades, and so apparently didn't know that Bill is female; why Jim's brother never told him about this is not answered.) Jim is none too pleased when he learns that Bill is in fact a woman, as he thinks that a town like Headstone is no place for a nice woman like Bill.

Meanwhile, Tex and Bill begin to fall in love with it being obvious they should wind up together in the last reel, even though they have some problems along the way. Tex keeps taking a licking from Pete, while every time Bill tries to help him, things somehow backfire. And there's also a bit of a conflict involving Bill and Lola (Ann Miller), the saloon singer at Uncle Jim's hotel. She's taken a yen to Tex as well even though she's secretly in cahoots with Pete, and she too isn't happy with Bill's presence.

Go West, Young Lady isn't so much a western as it is a comedy set out west I suppose it could just as easily have been small-town New England or something similar. That having been said, it's successful as far as it goes, which isn't very far. The movie is only 70 minutes, clearly conceived to be a B movie without any pretensions of greatness. Still, it does try to pack quite a bit in. Among all the comedy and fights, there are also a couple of musical numbers, including a particularly humorous one with Miller dancing around Allen Jenkins, playing a deputy who's clearly a fish out of water. He'd be terribly miscast if it weren't the point that he's thoroughly unsuitable to be an old west deputy.

Go West, Young Lady is good, pleasant fun, if nothing that will ever be remembered as one of the all time greats. It's too bad Columbia/Sony hasn't figured out a way to put this on a Glenn Ford box set.

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