Blyth Shows Spirit
Whilst her father and aunt want Lucy Bostel (Ann Blyth) to become a proper young lady all she wants to do is ride horses with one in particular, Black Velvet a wild horse everyone knows about. But Lucy is not the only one interested in Black Velvet as former badman Lin Sloane (Howard Dugg) has shown up in the area and plans to catch and break the notorious horse. But despite a less than happy initial meeting when Lucy duped Lin into stripping off for a swim and then fleeing with his clothes the two become involved.
Is it wrong when the looks of a movie and an actress are the most memorable part of a movie? It is the question which presents me as I watched & review "Red Canyon" a pleasant little western from 1949. You see the trouble with "Red Canyon" comes from it featuring so many typical story elements from Lucy being a bit of a tomboy to Lin being the stranger who when ever a certain gang of outlaws are mentioned suddenly looks anxious and keen to change the subject. Of course he is the typical former bad guy turned good but as they say, mud sticks and he knows people will quickly judge him on his past and associations. In truth I don't think there is a part to "Red Canyon" which I haven't come across before.
But as I said it is the looks which make "Red Canyon" memorable and for a 1949 western the colouring is staggering and it is one of the most sharply coloured westerns from that era I can remember having ever watched. And to give director George Sherman and cinematographer Irving Glassberg credit they make the most of the technicolor to make for a visually impressive picture. Also being visually impressive is Ann Bluth who in one scene after another looks beautiful, trouble is that whilst she plays her part well, as do all the actors, her part is so typical the character could have been directly lifted from plenty of other westerns.
What this all boils down to is that "Red Canyon" is a pleasant enough western if you are a fan of old westerns. But beyond the movie and cast's looks there is nothing special about this story which you could almost say has been built from western cliches.