I hadn’t see a (Wild) Bill Elliott film till recently, but I bought both DVD box sets of his western films and of the detective films he made at the end of his film career.
I sought them out them after reading reviews at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings website (http://laurasmiscmusings.blogspot.co.uk)
And I enjoyed all of them, particularly the crime films.
BILL ELLIOTT (1904 – 1965) was the son of a cattle rancher. He grew up around horses and took part in rodeos.
He came to Hollywood in 1925 and appeared in around 100 films between 1929 and 1937. With the Columbia serial, THE GREAT ADVENTURES OF WILD BILL HICKOK in 1938, he became a top western star.
In 1943, he appeared in a series for Republic and became known as Wild Bill Elliott. Over the next two years, with GABBY HAYES costarring, he made 16 movies as the character RED RYDER.
His trademark pair of guns were worn butt-forward in the holsters. His character invariably smoked a pipe and he usually wore the same hat!
The Monogram films in the DVD box set usually had the same writers and directors , and I.STANFORD JOLLEY seemed to be every one.
There was sure to be at least one fist fight, a shoot-out and a chase on horseback.
His characters in these westerns may have been varied – a Union officer, a gambler, a man searching for his father’s killer – but basically he was Wild Bill, more or less the same in every film.
Playing the homicide detective,Lt. Andy Doyle, in 5 police dramas in the 1950s were his first non -westerns since 1938. He adapted well to the modern setting and was supported by DON HAGGERTY as Sgt.Mike Duncan.
The 5 films were made by Allied Artists from 1955 to 1957 and I enjoyed all five of them. Lots of good supporting players like LYLE TALBOT, JEANNE COOPER, JAMES FLAVIN, TOM DRAKE, KEITH LARSEN.
Average running time of the films was 65 mins and the plots were solid . Elliott ‘s long experience in front of the camera gave him an easy, natural style which I liked.
He gave up films and moved to Las Vegas in 1957 and hosted a local TV program which featured his films.
So thanks, Laura, for introducing me to Mr. Elliott. I know I’ll be watching his 1950s thrillers more than once.