Saturday, October 22, 2011

Marcia Henderson (Canyon River, 1956)

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Canyon River (1956)

They drive the cattle from Oregon to Wyoming in Canyon River -- in other words, "the wrong way." That, however, is about the only surprise in this pleasant, and pleasantly acted, Western melodrama from Allied Artists. Everything about the film is pleasant, including leading men (and onscreen rivals) George Montgomery and Peter Graves. Marcia Henderson makes a pleasant heroine, Alan Hale Jr. is pleasant as a reformed outlaw, and even villainous Walter Sande is on the mild side. The color is by De Luxe (and is, needless to say, pleasant to look at) and the locations are on the grand scale -- all of which, sadly, will be lost in the surviving pan-and-scan versions.

Brunette (sometimes blonde) Marcia Henderson (1929-1987)played Wendy to Boris Karloff's Captain Hook and Jean Arthur's Peter Pan on Broadway from 1950 to 1951. Before that she had been Kathleen on television's The Aldrich Family (1949) and she would replace Peggy Ann Garner in the 1951 daytime sitcom Two Girls Named Smith. She got lost in the crowd while under contract to Universal-International from 1953 to 1954 but later essayed leading roles in a series of B-movies that included The Wayward Girl (1957), a potboiler in the truest sense of the word and one of Republic Pictures' final in-house productions, and The Hypnotic Eye (1960), a cult "classic" from the fertile brain of William Castle. There were a couple of aborted television series and Henderson guest starred on such programs as Bat Masterson and Wanted: Dead or Alive before retiring to marry actor Bob Ivers in 1961.

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