Three Young Texans (1954) [DVD, Fox Import - English audio, removable subtitles]

Three Young Texans (1954) [DVD, Fox Import - English audio, removable subtitles]

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Financed by Fox, Three Young Texans is actually one of many pictures made by producer Leonard Goldstein at the RKO-Pathé studios using Fox-contracted directors, writers and actors, when Twentieth Century Fox began moving toward an all-Cinemascope production schedule.

Mitzi Gaynor came to the film straight from her starring role in the Cinemascope musical extravaganza There’s No Business Like Show Business alongside Marilyn Monroe, and it was her last film role before she took a hiatus (after being released early from her Fox contract) to get married. A western wasn’t her natural arena, but she returned to a string of starring roles when her marriage failed, in Anything Goes (1956), The Joker is Wild and Les Girls (1957), and South Pacific (1958).

This was also the first western for Jeffrey Hunter, but he went on to great success in the genre, most notably for director John Ford, alongside John Wayne in The Searchers (1956), and again in Sergeant Rutledge (1960). His later career was somewhat hampered by his identification with the role of Jesus in 1961’s King of Kings, and he missed the starring TV role of a lifetime when he withdrew from Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek after the unsuccessful first pilot. An accident on a Spanish film set in 1968 led to his untimely death in 1969 at the age of 42.

In Three Young Texans Hunter plays a young Texan who robs a train to prevent his father from committing the crime. Gaynor is the girl who tries to help him after she learns of the theft, while Keefe Brasselle completes the youthful trio as a cowboy who wants a piece of the action.

The cast list is rich in interesting names. Michael Ansara was elevated to fame by his starring role in the 1956 TV western series Broken Arrow and became a familiar face on American television, though perhaps not quite as familiar in his three appearances as Klingon commander Kang in Star Trek (1966), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) and Star Trek: Voyager (1995). Fellow Pasadena Playhouse student Aaron Spelling went on to become the enormously successful producer of TV shows including Burke’s Law, Starsky and Hutch, Charlie’s Angels, Fantasy Island, Hart to Hart, T.J. Hooker, The Love Boat, Dynasty and The Colbys. But in 1954 he had come fresh from a TV appearance as ‘Elevator Operator’ to this, only his second film role.

Three Young Texans has a complex, if at times contrived, plot with plenty of entertainment value. Fans of Jeffrey Hunter in particular will enjoy this colourful, action-packed fifties western.

Spanish Region 2 PAL (fully UK-compatible) DVD, Impulso/Fox 2010

Please note: Subtitles have been tested and confirmed removable, but it may be necessary to use player menus as well as disc menus to remove them.

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