Gold Raiders

Gold Raiders

Gold Raiders (1951) is a comedy Western film, directed by Edward Bernds with a script by B-movie writer William Lively and veteran comedy writer Elwood Ullman. The film was an attempt by independent producer Bernard Glasser to inaugurate a new western series starring old favorite George O'Brien. Adding novelty value to the proceedings are The Three Stooges -- Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Shemp Howard.

Synopsis

The movie's plot is fairly divided between O'Brien, playing a frontier insurance investigator, and the Stooges, cast as itinerant peddlers. The star and his comic cohorts thwart a gang of thieves hijacking gold-mine shipments. The villain is local bigwig Sawyer (Lyle Talbot), but the plot sneaks in a few interesting twists, including a red-herring character who initially seems to be a spy for the baddies, but who turns out to be an agent for the good guys. The Stooges, despite their buffoonery, perform heroically during the climactic shootout.

Sheila Ryan co-stars as the granddaughter of tipster doctor Clem Bevans, while Monte Blue enjoys a larger part than usual as the local mine owner. Some of the stunts were performed by Hugh Hooker, who also plays a juvenile role.

Notes

The 56-minute Gold Raiders was economically filmed in a record five days by director Edward Bernds.

Gold Raiders was originally released by independent producer Jack Schwarz through United Artists in 1951-52, and although the principals worked well together, plans to pursue an O'Brien-Stooges series were abandoned. The film was reissued to theaters in 1958, and television distributor AAP issued two home-movie abridgements on 8mm film in the 1960s. It is one of the few full-length films featuring Shemp Howard as one of the Stooges. Moe, Larry and Shemp appeared together in the 1930 film Soup to Nuts, which also features Ted Healy.

Extremely obscure for five decades, Gold Raiders was finally released to DVD in 2006 by Warner Bros..

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