Thursday, June 12, 2014


Republic Pictures was truly ailing when the company released Pawnee. But that doesn't even come close to explain, let alone excuse, the amount of stock footage used. Now stock footage was of course a part of the moviegoing experience in the so-called golden age of Hollywood and no one was much bothered if shots of warring Indians leaving their camp some times in the late silent era ended up in a 1940s program western. You just knew that a Buster Crabbe Billy the Kid oater from bottom feeder company PRC could not afford any kind of spectacle and you still had old Buster shooting it out with the outlaws, few in number as the may have been. But when most of the action is clearly from a different movie with the principal cast merely reacting to the goings on, well that is just too much. You really cannot get excited about a group of actors on a soundstage green set attempting to act frightened by an attack of hollering Pawnee warriors that clearly happened far, far away from Studio City. But that is excactly what happens in Pawnee. In fact poor Charlotte Austin, playing Pawnee squaw Dancing Fawn, never enjoyed any fresh air at all but was instead cooped up on the green set for the duration.

Miss Austin otherwise came with perfect outdoorsy credentials being the daughter of legendary crooner Gene Austin of "Carolina Moon" fame who had even headlined his own, albeit very low budget, western, 1938's Songs and Saddles. Yet despite all that, Charlotte Austin is today best remembered for a cheesy horror movie, The Bride and the Beast, released a year after Pawnee. 


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