Cowboy and the Senorita (1944)
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Roy Rogers and Dale Evans are probably one of the most legendary of Hollywood couples, he married her in December of 1947, and remained by her side until the day he died (July 6, 1998). This is the first movie the two of them made together and the chemistry was obvious from the start.
Low on action, but high on adventure, and loaded with fun elements, Cowboy and the Senorita is a lighthearted treasure hunt, with a nice dose of comedic elements that help to make for a really nice package overall. With a little more emphasis on the romantic elements, this moves away from the standard Roy Rogers oater, and offers an interesting change of pace. Not all of it works, but enough it works well enough to keep your attention and most of it is very entertaining as well.
Roy is the cowboy and Dale is the senorita of the title, sidekick duties are filled by Guinn Big Boy Williams in the role of Teddy Bear, and John Hubbard provides Roys biggest rival. Mary Lee is on hand as Dales little sister and she is the one that drives the story forward as she searches for a treasure that her late-father left behind.
When Roy and Teddy Bear are accused of kidnapping they set out to find the missing girl and clear their names. Once they find the missing girl, things become even more complicated when she leads them on a treasure hunt. Later they are hired by the girls older sister to look after her, but when the mine that contains the treasure is scheduled to be sold, Roy and Teddy take it upon themselves to find the treasure before its too late.
The plot does contain a number of twists and turns and my summary here hardly scratches the surface of the overall story. Along the way we are treated to a number of good songs, a dash of romantic rivalry, and a little bit of action too.
One thing I did want to mention was an odd surprise that I found in the opening of the movie. Roy and Teddy Bear are working at a restaurant, Teddy is a waiter, and Roy is the entertainment. When a little boy trips Teddy, he dumps a tray full of food into the lap of a wealthy man, leading to both Teddy and Roy getting fired. The prankster child is played by an un-credited George Spanky McFarland. Ive run into this kind of thing in a lot of these movies, an early screen appearance by an actor that would later become much better known, but this is actually the opposite. This was one of the last screen appearances that Spanky ever made, it was made a couple of years after the end of the Our Gang shorts, and it was one of his very last performances. After this he made two more movies, one the same year as this one, and another one 42 years later.
-William J. White