The Ghost Rider (1935)
The Revenge of the Ghost
Having been framed for murder Jim Bullard (Franklyn Farnum) bravely escapes from prison with a score to settle as he goes after the Rascob's who set him up. Having headed home he meets up with old friend Dad Burns (Edward Coxen) who like everyone back home were under the impression that Jim had died in prison, something which his son Bobby (Bobby Nelson) and his sister Linda (Anna Lee Carroll) also believed. Having set up camp in an old mine Jim goes about picking of the Rascob's one by one leaving an Ace as a calling card whilst trying to scare them off of his land which they stole when they set him up.
There are several things which still impress when it comes to "The Ghost Rider" and the first is the quality of the image. The sharpness of the image is not what you expect from an old western and I wouldn't be surprised if the version I watched had been more recently cleaned up but even then the solid camera work impresses. What also impresses is Franklyn Farnum who at the age of 57 was surprisingly agile, more agile than other actors of his age from the time. Yes it has to be said that the action such as a shirtless fist fight is staged but even so he impresses.
But aside from the look "The Ghost Rider" isn't that special as it once again is a western about a wronged man seeking revenge for that wrong which was done to him. Yes there is the novelty of everyone thinking Jim is dead so he is the Ghost Rider who hides in an old mine shaft and leaves messages when no one is looking but it still comes down to a revenge movie which trades heavily on that old fashioned 1930s style of action. And when it isn't delivering action it focusses on the attractive faces of Anna Lee Carroll.
What this all boils down to is that "The Ghost Rider" like so many early westerns doesn't hold a great appeal for those looking to be entertained but is worth watching if you are a fan of westerns especially as it is one of the cleanest looking westerns from this era I have come across.
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