Son of the Renegade (1953)

Johnny Carpenter in Son of the Renegade (1953)

1953 Western Masquerading as a 1935 Western

Many years ago Red River Johnny's father was forced to turn outlaw after he shot a man and the then Sheriff of Red River wanted his blood. Now Red River Johnny and his friends are returning home to claim what is rightfully his but finds himself confronted by Sheriff Masters who happens to be the son of the man his father shot. On top of that Red River Johnny's nemesis, Three Finger Jack has been staging a series of hold-ups and robberies which he is framing Johnny for. With no hope of the law helping him, Johnny and his gang set about taking down Three Finger in order to clear his name.

I wonder whether when "Son of the Renegade" was released they advertised it as a retro western because for a movie made in 1953 it feels more 1933. From the length to the look, taking in the brevity of the action and annoying narration you almost wonder whether maybe this was made a decade or more earlier and had been collecting dust on a studio's shelf somewhere. There is of course a reason for this narration as the first 15 minutes is all back story, taking us back to the days of Johnny's father and his life as an outlaw.

As such "Son of the Renegade" is entertaining but only if you are a fan of earlier one hour westerns as nothing about it stands out. As such it has to be said that Johnny Carpenter whilst not terrible as a cowboy is pretty bland with Joan McKellen doing a better job of being memorable but that is mostly down to the double crossing nature of her character rather than her performance.

What this all boils down to is that even when "Son of the Renegade" was released in 1953 must have felt retro with its style and storyline feeling like it has come from the 1930s. It isn't by terrible but it is weak and lacks anything to make it memorable, well anything good as the frequent narration is memorably bad.