Ray Montgomery

Men of the Sky (1942, B. Reeves Eason)

Men of the Sky opens with General Henry H. Arnold addressing a graduating class of air cadets. Charles P. Boyle’s Technicolor photography is glorious and Harold McKernon’s editing is outstanding and Sky feels like an almost too precious time capsule.

Only then the realism shatters when Arnold starts directly addressing actors, not actual air cadets. All of a sudden, though Boyle’s photography remains wondrous throughout, Sky‘s propaganda becomes a chore to stomach. The problem’s Owen Crump’s script. Crump also narrates the short, so he’s at least enthusiastic in that responsibility, but he can’t string the elements together.

I think Eleanor Parker–as the wife of one of the pilots–has the most lines (like two of them); she’s only in it for thirty seconds. None of the cast are particularly distinctive, not even with Crump trying so hard.

Even as propaganda, Sky is bad. Crump’s too awful a writer.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by B. Reeves Eason; written by Owen Crump; director of photography, Charles P. Boyle; edited by Harold McLernon; produced by Gordon Hollingshead; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Tod Andrews (Cadet Frank Bickley), Eleanor Parker (Mrs. Frank Bickley), Don DeFore (Cadet Dick Mathews), Ray Montgomery (Cadet Jim Morgan), Ruth Ford (Cadet Gladdens’ Sweetheart), Dave Willock (Bob ‘Sir Galahad’ Gladdens) and Henry H. Arnold (Himself); narrated by Owen Crump.

The Resurrection of Broncho Billy (1970, James R. Rokos)

Even with all the obvious symbolism in The Resurrection of Broncho Billy, a lot of it is still quite good. About half of Rokos’s shots are excellent and Nick Castle’s photography is great. The shots of movie cowboy-wannabe Johnny Crawford walking through downtown L.A. are magnificent.

The short doesn’t work for a number of reasons; it could probably overcome the forced symbolism if the narrative were stronger. The film explains Crawford’s Western obsession almost immediately, which makes the rest of the short play awkwardly. What should be regular day activities are instead fantastic–whether Crawford’s run in with thugs or meeting a girl.

Billy takes a definite hit during the second half. And the finish is painful.

Crawford’s okay in the lead, not great. As his mentor, Wild Bill Tucker is good. As the girl, Kristin Harmon’s fairly weak.

John Carpenter’s music is excellent.

Billy just lacks subtlety.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by James R. Rokos; written by John Carpenter, Nick Castle, Trace Johnston, John Longenecker and Rokos; director of photography, Castle; edited by Carpenter; music by Carpenter; produced by Longenecker; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring Johnny Crawford (Broncho Billy), Kristin Harmon (The Artist), Wild Bill Tucker (The Old Timer), Ray Montgomery (The Store Owner), Merry Scanlon (The Counter Girl), Nancy Wible (The Landlady), Lee Hammerschmitt (The Stockboy), Billy Lechner (The Business Man), Robert Courtleigh (The Bartender), Henry S. Schley (The Drunk), John Dunwoody (The Big Thug), Steve Crumm (The 2nd Thug) and Two Bits (The Horse).

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