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Battle of Rogue River (1954)

Westerns were on the minds of producers everywhere during the height of the genre’s productive years. That includes low budget king Sam Katzman and one of Hollywood’s best salesman/directors, William Castle. This seventy minute “quickie” was released under the Columbia banner.

rogue river2

When a peaceful treaty can’t be rectified between whites and Indians, stern task master George Montgomery is ordered to the local military outpost. He’s a “by the book” Officer who quickly finds himself at odds with the opposing Chief and lovely Martha Hyer as well. “Easy Major. One campaign at a time.” she warns him.

It’s not unusual during plots like these to have the military and the local tribe almost come to terms. Almost is the key word. Quite often there will be someone who isn’t exactly what they seem and for purely selfish reasons and or greed they instigate a killing leading to an outright Indian war. Look no further than Richard Denning to find your man. But then, you should know that if you are at all familiar with Denning and his usual screen assignments.

rogue-river-poster

With a little twisting of the truth, Denning convinces army sergeant Emory Parnell the Indians have made off with Hyer and the soldiers go charging into an Indian camp and the war is on. Parnell just happens to be Hyers’ father. When Montgomery has to go in, feisty Martha tags along. This will allow for George to play the hero as we head to the fadeout.

This backlot western really doesn’t have much to offer in the way of anything new. But, I hadn’t seen it before and that in itself warranted a look. A smile crept onto my face when Kathleen Freeman turned up for a comedy relief scene. Had no idea she was in this but maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised. She has an incredible amount of screen appearances to her name.

bouchey

Willis Bouchey was in here as well as the commander that Montgomery replaces. Bouchey is a character player whose voice catches me first before I realize who the actor is. It’s that distinct.

Martha Hyer was a well known actress who appeared opposite many of the leading men of the late fifties and sixties. She climbed out of the B’s and achieved an Oscar nomination for her work in Some Came Running and held her own opposite the four sons of Katie Elder in 1965.

MARTHA+HYER+02_37395247_539919

Leading man George Montgomery had a long career and appeared in a number of low budget westerns and even took a stab at a western series for television titled Cimarron  City that ran for the 1958-1959 season.

This western turned up under the Columbia made on demand disc operation.

rogue river

3 Comments »

  1. I have a copy of this film, Mike, but, haven’t seen it yet. Castle’s westerns were reasonably entertaining – those which I’ve seen anyway – which could be said for much of the man’s output.

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