Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Man from Button Willow (1965)

I'd never heard of this movie before, but as it's an animated western, and also a story about the first "secret agent", Justin Eagle (voiced by Dale Robertson).  this is a true to life story... sort of.  apparently Button Willow isn't in the mountains at all, but not many people in the rest of the country would know that.  I can't tell who did the animation, though it reminds me of the Hanna-Barbera style.  it's got a charm to it though, clean and bright, even if not fully animated.  there are some interesting shots sprinkled though out the movie. the animation for the horses is quite good, and that's not easy to pull off, since we all know how horses are supposed to look and move.

that battle with the puma is really intense.

it also contains some funny (non-talking) animals, all of which are full of personality, including the horses.  but most of the shenanigans are done by the dog and the skunk and Sorry (Edgar Buchanan), Justin's sidekick.  they aren't anything laugh out loud funny, but overall it's not annoying either.  the horses get to have a foal in the middle of the movie, which smacks of padding.  the foal gets a whole sequence with a ferocious mountain lion, which I am sure threatened the railroad somehow.

the story is about the railroad, and the unscrupulous men that sometimes try land grabs so as to extort more money from the government.  you know, about half the stories of a lot of western movies.  this could have been a 45 minute movie without the singing and animal antics, as the plot gets put in the background for much of the movie.

it's worth a viewing more as a time capsule of what America thought it was and had been in 1965, more than as a record of the actual story.

1 comment:

Christopher M. Sobieniak said...

At least you gave an honest account of this film. I loved the few jokey reviews I've seen of it so far. The movie certainly had a lot of padding with those animal hijinks going on. I kinda wanted it to go in a different direction, but this was the mid 60's and animated features (even those outside Disney) end up going this route anyway that wouldn't quite change for a long while. Kiddie Matinee fodder is all it was.