Mark of the Avenger, or The Mysterious Rider (September 21, 1938)

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Mark of the Avenger
 

Released on September 21, 1938: Zane Grey story about the oulaw Pecos Bill who returns to his home to right the wrong from his past.

Directed by Lesley Selander

The Actors: Douglass Dumbrille (Pecos Bill and Ben Wade), Sidney Toler (Frosty Kilburn), Russell Hayden (Wils Moore), Stanley Andrews (William Bellounds), Weldon Heyburn (Jack Bellounds), Charlotte Field (Collie Wade), Monte Blue (Cap Folsom), Earl Dwire (Sheriff Burley), Glenn Strange (henchman Cramer), Jack Rockwell (Lem), Leo J. McMahon (cowhand Montana), Arch Hall Sr. (rancher Andrews), Richard Alexander (Big Tom Hudson), Ed Brady (Hobble Jake), Mabel Colcord (old woman on stage coach), Ben Corbett (stage driver), Bob Kortman (henchman), Bruce Mitchell (Baker), John St. Polis (townsman), Carl Stockdale (hotel clerk), Ted Wells (stage guard).

 

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When Strangers Come to Town

"I guess I'm not very hungry . . . sometimes I just can't eat my own cooking." I often heard my mom say something like this at dinner time before I would dig into a marvelously delicious meal. "If someone else cooked this I'd be eating it like there is no tomorrow, but after fussing over it all afternoon I don't just don't want to look at it anymore." How could she not be hungry after cooking all this good food? These days we don't spend hours creating a feast out of raw vegetables, potatoes, some spices and a dead chicken, so we don't ever get that feeling. Sidney Toler, later famous as the Chinese detective Charlie Chan, is the comedy relief side-kick cook who tries for the entire movie to bake a good batch of muffins, and after cooking all afternoon just isn't hungry enough to eat his own cooking. The 1930's and 1940's were the golden age of cowboy movies, and most of them are a great way to spend time while you are munching a big bowl of homemade white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter on it, but this one is special. Whenever I get a chance to watch a story that came from the mind of Zane Grey I know I am in for a treat, and this tale is no exception. Monte Blue, as Cap Folsom, the town's leading citizen, is cast against type as the villain, and the outlaw Pecos Bill, played by Douglass Dumbrille, is the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet. And Sidney Toler, the outlaw's side-kick, can crack wise with simple remarks that you won't hear in most cowboy movies. The high level of sophistication in the writing is better than many stories written even today, and reminds me of how far ahead of his time Zane Grey was. As usual with a good Zane Grey story the characters are well developed and very deeply intertwined . . . like a good soap opera . . . or real life. The good guys are pretty bad, and the bad guys are pretty good, and the girl in the middle never discovers how close she is to her father, the bad guys, and her legacy.

Charlotte Field and Douglass Dumbrille
Charlotte Field and Douglass Dumbrille
Charlotte Field is Collie Wade in Mark of the Avenger
Charlotte Field is Collie Wade in Mark of the Avenger
Douglass Dumbrille and Charlotte Field
Douglass Dumbrille and Charlotte Field
Douglass Dumbrille explains who he is to Russell Hayden
Douglass Dumbrille explains who he is to Russell Hayden
Douglass Dumbrille and Russell Hayden
Douglass Dumbrille and Russell Hayden
Douglass Dumbrille as Pecos Bill in Mark of the Avenger
Douglass Dumbrille as Pecos Bill in Mark of the Avenger
Douglass Dumbrille shoots down Monte Blue
Douglass Dumbrille shoots down Monte Blue
Douglass Dumbrille talks to Charlotte Field in Mark of the Avenger
Douglass Dumbrille talks to Charlotte Field in Mark of the Avenger
Monte Blue and Glenn Strange
Monte Blue and Glenn Strange
Nonte Blue smokes a big cigar in Mark of the Avenger
Monte Blue smokes a big cigar in Mark of the Avenger
Russell Hayden as Wils Moore in Mark of the Avenger
Russell Hayden as Wils Moore in Mark of the Avenger
Sidney Toler and Douglass Dumbrille in Mark of the Avenger
Sidney Toler and Douglass Dumbrille in Mark of the Avenger
Sidney Toler and Douglass Dumbrille
Sidney Toler and Douglass Dumbrille
Sidney Toler as Frosty Kilburn in Mark of the Avenger
Sidney Toler as Frosty Kilburn in Mark of the Avenger
Stanley Andrews and Carl Stockdale
Stanley Andrews and Carl Stockdale
Stanley Andrews and Charlotte Field
Stanley Andrews and Charlotte Field
Stanley Andrews and Douglass Dumbrille
Stanley Andrews and Douglass Dumbrille
Stanley Andrews, Earl Dwire and Weldon Heyburn
Stanley Andrews, Earl Dwire and Weldon Heyburn
Stanley Andrews and Weldon Heyburn
Stanley Andrews and Weldon Heyburn
Weldon Heyburn and Charlotte Field
Weldon Heyburn and Charlotte Field
Weldon Heyburn and Monte Blue
Weldon Heyburn and Monte Blue
Weldon Heyburn and Sidney Toler
Weldon Heyburn and Sidney Toler
Weldon Heyburn and Stanley Andrews
Weldon Heyburn and Stanley Andrews
Weldon Heyburn gets robbed on the stage ride back home
Weldon Heyburn gets robbed on the stage ride back home