Movie Review: The Boy from Oklahoma (1954)
The Boy from Oklahoma (1954)
Director: Michael Curtiz
Cast: Will Rogers Jr., Nancy Olson, Lon Chaney Jr.
Synopsis: A sasparilla-drinking drifter is made the sheriff of a lawless town.
Veteran director Michael Curtiz must have been able to knock out undemanding programmers like The Boy from Oklahoma out in his sleep by 1953. In this one he’s given Will Rogers Jr. to deal with. Rogers is an amiable enough type, but he’s definitely no romantic leading man. In fact, he looks as if he should have a stalk of corn protruding from the corner of his mouth and his hat pushed far back on top of his head. He plays a sasparilla-drinking stranger in this one who drifts into a town run by a suitably devilish looking but outwardly amenable bad guy (Anthony Caruso – Where Love Has Gone, Young Dillinger) who swears him in as sheriff because he thinks the gangly stranger will cause him no problems. Of course, he gets that wrong…
The Boy from Oklahoma is an agreeable enough time-waster if you’re in the mood. The highlight is probably Lon Chaney Jr (The Wolf Man, High Noon) in a tiny role as a bible-spouting drunk who comes staggering into town to shoot it up. Rogers, who never carries a gun, manages to persuade him to accompany him to the cells after describing them as a refuge from Chaney’s domineering wife. Later, he has to deal with Billy the Kid (Tyler MacDuff – The Bounty Hunter) who makes an odd kind of cameo appearance before flouncing off after Rogers refuses to pick up a gun to fight him. Nancy Olson (Sunset Boulevard, The Absent-Minded Professor) provides the romantic leading lady, and even dressed down she’s way out of Rogers’ league, but he ends up wearing her dad’s boots anyway.
It’s an oddity, and an unassuming one, but it’s worth watching if you’re feeling lazy and the remote is out of reach.
(Reviewed 30th November 2011)