The Brand of Hate (1934)
Bob Shows Real Steele
Rod Camp (Bob Steele) is sweet on his neighbour Margie Larkin (Lucile Browne) and all is well. That is until Margie's outlaw uncle, Bill Larkin (George 'Gabby' Hayes), and his sons Holt (James Flavin) and Slim (Archie Ricks) show up and decide to move in. Not only do Holt and Slim take to rustling cattle from the Camp ranch but they decide that they are entitled to have Margie as well. This leads not only to a fight but when Rod's father catches Holt and Slim rustling his cattle he ends up being shot leaving Rod to bring justice against the trouble makers.
If I said George 'Gabby' Hayes to you I am pretty sure the first thoughts which would spring to mind is the wily, whiskered comedy sidekick to such actors as John Wayne and Roy Rogers. But Hayes played other roles and the most interesting thing about "The Brand of Hate" is that it sees him playing a bad guy. And Hayes was good at turning villain as he has that dirty and despicable thing going on which is entertaining.
Aside from the novelty of George 'Gabby' Hayes playing villain there isn't a great deal more to say about "The Brand of Hate" as we have a young man dealing with some despicable men who are not only rusting cattle but making a move on his girl. It is all basic stuff and very safe to the point that the opening scene which sees Margie and her younger brother stuck up a tree having escaped from a bull may make you laugh for how frightfully polite it all is. But then in a way "The Brand of Hate" delivers what you would expect from a mid 1930's b-movie western with some simple storylines and some staged fights which are now comical in their awkwardness.
Having said all that Bob Steele plays the part of Rod reasonably well and looks more comfortable than he did in other westerns. And then there is Lucile Browne who whilst stuck with some terrible damsel in distress style scenes has a smile which makes you ignore the weakness of her character.
What this all boils down to is that that "The Brand of Hate" is just another b-movie western from the mid 1930s which delivers nothing but familiar; familiar plot lines, familiar actions and familiar actors.
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