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VAUGHN MONROE
Ratings: Zero to 4 Stars.

SINGING GUNS (‘50 Republic) Bland but likeable Vaughn Monroe in the first of his two Republic starrers. Vaughn is wanted outlaw Rhiannon who has stashed a million dollars in gold stolen from Great Western Mine Co. who have done him wrong in the past. Determined to capture Rhi-annon is Sheriff Ward Bond who is critically wounded in a fight with the outlaw. Suffering an attack of conscience, Rhiannon takes a chance and brings Bond into the town doc, Walter Brennan. Appreciating what he’s done, and not realizing who he really is, the town appoints the outlaw Sheriff until Bond is well. Rhiannon accepts, at first with ulterior motives to rob Great Western, but eventually begins to appreciate being on the right side of the law. Monroe also falls for Bond’s girl, Ella Raines—and she for him. When Bond recovers he discovers what has happened and sets out to jail Rhiannon and regain his girl. In a terrific scene in the saloon, Monroe cleverly croons “Singing My Way Back Home” to Great Western owner Jeff Corey. Monroe also belts out his 1949 hit “Mule Train”. Watch for both Billy Gray and Elinor Donahue in bit parts—the pair co-starred as Robert Young’s children on TV’s “Father Knows Best” in ‘54. Listen to the narrator’s voice—it’s Republic badman Roy Barcroft.

Vaughn Monroe starring in "Singing Guns".

TOUGHEST MAN IN ARIZONA (‘52 Republic) This was singer Monroe’s second and last Trucolor western. The only time he seems to display much interest is during his three songs, indicating he’d rather sing than act. U. S. Marshal Monroe leads the survivors (Joan Leslie and her children) of an Indian raid to Tombstone, as well as bringing in vicious outlaw Victor Jory. He and Leslie fall in love, believing her worthless husband (expertly played by Harry Morgan) was killed in the raid. Unfortunately, he was not—the cowardly Morgan fled the scene and has now hooked up with Jory’s brothers (Ian MacDonald and Lee MacGregor) who use him and his telegrapher skills to help brother Jory break jail and stage a robbery. When Jory escapes, after nearly killing Monroe, the Marshal and his Sheriff friend, Edgar Buchanan, must track the ruthless brothers down. Well handled by director R. G. Springsteen, but Monroe is just too bland to bring much vitality to the role.

Vaughn Monroe in "toughest Man in Arizona".

 

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