Friday, August 16, 2013

Felice Ingersoll in Range Justice (1949)

Sometimes one cannot help wonder why the old B Western producers felt obliged to have a pretty girl in their productions. Well, outside of the obvious. Because usually the girls were given very little to do other than perhaps get in the way of the action in a scene or two and wave goodbye to the hero as he rides into the sunset - alone. Always alone, or with a male sidekick. In the case of Johnny Mack Brown's latter day RANGE JUSTICE (1949), the girl, Felice Ingersoll, isn't even present to say the obligatory god's speed but leaves that entirely up to her brother, Riley Hill. In fact, Miss Ingersoll has only two very brief scenes and why she is even in the picture is anyone's guess. Was she the girlfriend of someone? Probably. Meanwhile, that old battle ax Sarah Padden takes care of the female acting glory with her usual aplomb as an ornery lady rancher who hires Mack Brown to help her with a nestler problem. But as Johnny quickly learns, the criminal element isn't the nestlers but instead townie Tristram Coffin, who of course is after Sarah's valuable water rights.  And so it goes.

Felice Ingersoll, meanwhile, had earlier been under contract to 20th Century-Fox, where she had cooled her heels alongside an equally misused pre-stardom Marilyn Monroe, but she was really better known as a chorus girl and band singer. RANGE JUSTICE was her only film of any importance. If you could call it that. And a Monogram Western was hardly the Big League, even though this one in particular is quite well written and moves swiftly from point A to point B. 


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