Return of the Badmen
Scott got very dirty battling a bevy of Western villains in Return of the Badmen. The success of 1947's Badman's Territory prompted RKO Radio to produce a sequel of sorts, with Scott returning as the lead hero. The RKO production was more than just a sequel though. Return of the Badmen was symptomatic of a popular story contrivance in Hollywood picture making in the forties, one that crossed genre lines. The idea of a "super Western," with a hero facing off against an inordinate number of villains in a single movie, actually took root in the horror picture. When horror film producers began to lose the audience's attention, their first move was to offer two monsters for the price of one, as in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), then later three or four monsters in House of Frankenstein (1944). Western filmmakers followed this same logic by throwing figures like Jesse James, Belle Starr, the Dalton Gang and others into an organized crime wave that sweeps the Old West, until a lawman like Randolph Scott can stop it. Rather than relying on a simple plot contrivance, Return of the Badmen goes one step further and creates real tension between Randolph Scott's marshal and Robert Ryan's Sundance Kid.
Return of the Badmen posted a huge profit, spawning another "all-star villain" western from RKO in 1951 called Best of the Badmen, this time starring Robert Ryan as a former Union soldier exacting revenge on Robert Preston with help from the James and Younger gangs.
Director: Ray Enright
Producer: Jack J. Gross, Nat Holt
Screenplay: Charles O'Neal, Jack Natteford (story), Luci Ward (story)
Cinematography: J. Roy Hunt
Music: Mort Greene, Harry Revel, Paul Sawtell
Art Direction: Ralph Berger, Albert S. D'Agostino
Cast: Randolph Scott (Vance), Robert Ryan (Sundance Kid), Anne Jeffreys (Cheyenne), George ÔGabbyÕ Hayes (John Pettit), Jacqueline White (Madge Allen), Steve Brodie (Cole Younger), Tom Keene (Jim Younger), Robert Bray (John Younger).
BW-91m. Closed Captioning.
by Scott McGee