In the Winter I like to dig more deeply into the cinema and fiction of the 1930's and 1940's. The cold days and nights just seem perfect for snuggling under a warm blanket with a good pulp adventure novel or a fun old film. Sadly, the last few weeks in
have been bizarrely warm for the season making it difficult for me to work up
the cozy feeling I like for this time of year but I have found a few nights
cool enough to feel proper for January. On one of those nights recently I
watched an Eddie Dean western from PRC called THE HAWK OF POWDER RIVER (1948).
This was one of the last starring roles for the famous singing cowboy star before he was relegated to the occasional guest spot on a television show. Although his screen career faded one thing he continued to do until the 1990's was sing and at that he was quite good. I'm partial to the western & swing style of music popularized by Dean and his fellow singing cowboy film stars so as far as I'm concerned the tunes that pop up in these cheap little programmers are often the highlight. I own a couple of Dean's records and each time I listen to him I realize I want to own more.
As for THE HAWK OF POWDER RIVER (1948) it is only an OK entry in the genre. Clocking in at under an hour it still manages to wear out its welcome pretty soon even if having the vicious villain be a vivacious vixen is a nice change from the norm. The script is pretty tired and the only real energy is in the few horseback chases that pad the story out. If you are interested in the singing cowboy films of yesteryear I wouldn't start with this one but the songs are pretty darned good.