Arthur Lubin | Subjects
| Visual Style | Collaborators
Films: Buck Privates | Impact
| South Sea Woman
| The First Traveling Saleslady
Maverick: Royal Four Flush | The Cats of Paradise
| The Goose-Drownder
Cheyenne: Outcast of Cripple Creek
Bronco: Game at the Beacon Club
Classic Film and Television Home Page (with many articles on directors)
| Television Western Articles
Arthur Lubin is an American film and television director.
Martin Scorsese picked Phantom of the Opera as one of his "Ten Best English language films
exemplifying the use of light and color".
Don Miller's B Movies (1973) praises such Lubin crime films as The House of a Thousand Candles (1936),
Yellowstone (1936), Risky Business (1939), Gangs of Chicago (1940),
Who Killed Aunt Maggie? (1940) and San Francisco Docks (1940).
Arthur Lubin: Subjects
- Deceptive identities (spies: The House of a Thousand Candles, mystery: Who Killed Aunt Maggie?,
phony cowboy: Ride 'Em Cowboy,
final shoot-out: Duel at Sundown,
fake countess, hero pretends to be marshal: Royal Four Flush,
Maverick brothers in counter-swindle: Maverick Springs, mystery: The Goose-Drownder,
hero pretending to be government agent: A Flock of Trouble, comic poker game: Maverick and Juliet,
playing in poker game under false id, woman claims to be teacher: Game at the Beacon Club)
related (heroes pretending to be deserters: South Sea Woman,
cowboy hero mistaken for rich man dressed in costume as cowboy: Game at the Beacon Club)
- Crimes attempted by bad guys, thwarted by heroes (murder of husband: Impact,
murder: Footsteps in the Fog, marriage for money: Duel at Sundown,
killing: The Cats of Paradise,
bank robbery: Greenbacks, Unlimited,
crooked gambling: Game at the Beacon Club)
- Opportunistic women (maid: Footsteps in the Fog,
sales-woman: The First Traveling Saleslady, fake countess: Royal Four Flush,
heroine: The Cats of Paradise, con woman: Maverick Springs,
dance hall woman: The Goose-Drownder,
gambler: Game at the Beacon Club)
- Women who take valuable objects (jewels: Footsteps in the Fog, watch: The Goose-Drownder)
- Mild-mannered, sympathetic men (defense lawyer: South Sea Woman,
brother: Maverick Springs, Red Herring: The Goose-Drownder, card game owner: Greenbacks, Unlimited,
hero: The Incredible Mr. Limpet)
- Salespeople on the road (tombstone rep: Who Killed Aunt Maggie?,
boyfriend claims to be salesman: Impact,
heroine: The First Traveling Saleslady,
hero and heroine sell cats: The Cats of Paradise, linen salesman: The Goose-Drownder)
related (heroes sell ties on New York streets: Buck Privates,
businessman hero buys factories and travels on the job: Impact,
woman sells photos in night clubs: South Sea Woman,
Government agent buys sheep: A Flock of Trouble)
- Sexy French women (woman runs "house": South Sea Woman,
fake countess: Royal Four Flush)
- Two men vying for the same woman (Buck Privates, South Sea Woman,
Duel at Sundown, Royal Four Flush, The Cats of Paradise, The Goose-Drownder, A Flock of Trouble)
related (man thinks he has a rival: Outcast of Cripple Creek)
- People try to break up relationships or engagements (Lancaster vs Connors: South Sea Woman,
Maverick hired by father: Duel at Sundown,
man's teenage children: Royal Four Flush)
Villains and Dictators:
- Servants who get new positions of equality (chauffeur enters Army at same time as employer: Buck Privates,
maid becomes mistress of mansion: Footsteps in the Fog) related (male fortune hunter: Duel at Sundown)
- Lifestyle changes after a death (maid becomes mistress of mansion: Footsteps in the Fog,
Cheyenne as new Marshal, gets old Marshall's house: Outcast of Cripple Creek)
- Men transform other men (Sergeant Burt Lancaster trains recruit Chuck Connors: South Sea Woman,
millionaire buys upper class clothes for cowboy hero: Game at the Beacon Club)
Animal humor and imagery:
- Rich powerful men lacking morals and scruples (playboy: Buck Privates, husband: Footsteps in the Fog,
James Arness: The First Traveling Saleslady, Mayor, Sheriff: The Cats of Paradise,
cattlemen: A Flock of Trouble, Mayor and rich townsmen: Outcast of Cripple Creek,
rich man cheats at cards: Duel at Sundown,
wealthy gamblers: Game at the Beacon Club)
- Dictatorial governments (South Sea island run by Vichy French dictator: South Sea Woman,
town run by cattlemen: The First Traveling Saleslady,
Paradise: The Cats of Paradise)
- Heroines obsessed with men who are no good (Footsteps in the Fog, Duel at Sundown,
heroine loves crooked gambler: Royal Four Flush, The Goose-Drownder)
- Obnoxious bullies (Red: Duel at Sundown, Sheriff: The Cats of Paradise, villain: The Goose-Drownder,
cattleman: A Flock of Trouble, cattlemen: Outcast of Cripple Creek, wife and friend: The Incredible Mr. Limpet)
- Talking animals (Francis, Mr. Ed, The Incredible Mr. Limpet)
- Jokes about animals' love life (calving discussion: The Goose-Drownder, fillies: Mr. Ed,
longhorns more faithful than women: Maverick Springs,
lecture on decapods: The Incredible Mr. Limpet)
- Animals' social roles (cats: The Cats of Paradise, sheep, sheep-herding dog: A Flock of Trouble)
- Horses change hands (heroine gives her pinto to hero: Duel at Sundown,
crooked horse swap: Greenbacks, Unlimited)
- Cattle herded through towns (trial finale: The First Traveling Saleslady,
suspense finale: Outcast of Cripple Creek)
- Pets (parrot: South Sea Woman, dog: Royal Four Flush)
- Feminist heroines, who explain ideas to hero (The First Traveling Saleslady, The Goose-Drownder)
- Conflicts between locals and national organizations
(cattle ranchers versus federal government, steel company: The First Traveling Saleslady,
crooks vs stage line: The Goose-Drownder, cattle ranchers versus federal government: A Flock of Trouble)
- People who think seriously about their future (duty in wartime: South Sea Woman,
heroine: The First Traveling Saleslady,
dance hall woman: Goose-Drownder, poor sheep-herders want own flock: A Flock of Trouble,
deputy marshal Rhodes Reason: Outcast of Cripple Creek)
related (man has to give up running gambling, bank swindles: Greenbacks, Unlimited,
hero thinks fish have better life: The Incredible Mr. Limpet)
- Concerns over moralists (Purity League: The First Traveling Saleslady,
children investigate heroine: Royal Four Flush,
fire-and-brimstone preacher hates women: The Goose-Drownder,
hypocritical townspeople as secret vice lords: Outcast of Cripple Creek)
- Heavy rain storms (storm forces hero to stay at mansion: Who Killed Aunt Maggie?,
opening funeral: Footsteps in the Fog, whole show, strands characters: The Goose-Drownder)
related (Old Faithful geyser: Yellowstone)
- Bodies in water (diving in pool: Ride 'Em Cowboy,
murder victim: The Goose-Drownder, hero falls off pier: The Incredible Mr. Limpet)
related (heroes survive shipwreck in boat: Game at the Beacon Club)
- Water from ceiling in containers indoors (ceiling leaks into buckets: The Goose-Drownder,
ceiling hoses lead to aquarium: The Incredible Mr. Limpet)
related (water gushes from phone in dream, water loosed on men at railway: Ride 'Em Cowboy)
- Water technology (drilling for water: Maverick Springs)
- Shore buildings with outdoor stairs and platforms (saloon: South Sea Woman, pier: The Incredible Mr. Limpet)
- Travelers camping out in lobbies, due to housing problems (hotel: The First Traveling Saleslady,
stagecoach way station: The Goose-Drownder)
related (heroes in hotel lobby pleading for rooms: South Sea Woman,
injured marshals treated in beds in hotel lobby: Outcast of Cripple Creek)
- Men carrying men and putting them to bed (chauffeur recalls carrying up drunken playboy: Buck Privates,
carrying wounded outlaw: The Goose-Drownder)
related (Maverick picks up victim, takes to doctor's table: Duel at Sundown,
hero carries woman: Game at the Beacon Club)
- Blood on hands leads to discoveries (coat after murder: Footsteps in the Fog,
carrying supposedly ill man: The Goose-Drownder)
- Improvised fixes (auto repair: The First Traveling Saleslady,
hero forced to remove bullet: The Goose-Drownder, hero evades duel with fake bandaged hand: Duel at Sundown)
related (incompetent man pressured to enter rodeo: Ride 'Em Cowboy)
- Hidden loot (Yellowstone, secret room: Who Killed Aunt Maggie?, The Goose-Drownder)
- Vaults (secret room: Who Killed Aunt Maggie?, bank: Greenbacks, Unlimited,
military: The Incredible Mr. Limpet)
- Climbing (cliff rescue: Buck Privates, cliff: Impact,
up side of ship: South Sea Woman, loft in barn where men sleep: The Goose-Drownder,
Cheyenne climbs down building during gunfight: Outcast of Cripple Creek)
- Slapstick about rear ends (sitting on radiator, in barrel at The End: Buck Privates,
cattle horns: Ride 'Em Cowboy,
Cheyenne paddling cowboy: Outcast of Cripple Creek)
- Comedy about outsiders out West (Ride 'Em Cowboy, The First Traveling Saleslady)
- Men cooking (KP: Buck Privates,
miners cook for their prisoner: Royal Four Flush, station manager makes soup: The Goose-Drownder)
- Contests between large groups (shooting, war game: Buck Privates,
rodeo: Ride 'Em Cowboy, poker match: Maverick and Juliet)
- Men on public evaluation or trial (hero at board meeting: Impact,
military court: South Sea Woman)
- Tied up men (handcuffs: South Sea Woman, Maverick, villain: Royal Four Flush)
- Recruiting, usually at tables (movie theater: Buck Privates, Rough Riders: The First Traveling Saleslady,
World War II: The Incredible Mr. Limpet) related (signing up people to be Marshal: Outcast of Cripple Creek)
- Militaristic fantasies (recruiting at theater, men get similar roles in Army: Buck Privates,
brass goes to guarded top secret area: The Incredible Mr. Limpet)
- Military court (South Sea Woman)
- Police and the military (cop Nat Pendleton turns into Army Sergeant: Buck Privates,
police inspector uniformed, trained at Saint-Cyr: Phantom of the Opera, military court, MP: South Sea Woman)
Arthur Lubin: Visual Style
- Overhead camera angles (poker game: Royal Four Flush)
- Mirrors (Chuck Connors enters in mirror: South Sea Woman,
poker cheat puts on equipment: Royal Four Flush,
hero enters heroine's room in mirror: Game at the Beacon Club)
Costumes and Appearance:
- Moves that rest in turn on different people (courtroom: South Sea Woman,
poker game: Royal Four Flush)
- Dynamic camera movements past people (recruits swearing in: Buck Privates,
opening shot of orchestra: Phantom of the Opera)
- Camera follows singers both to left and right and back to center ("The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy": Buck Privates,
opening aria of hero: Phantom of the Opera)
related (back and forth movements at club lobby at start: Game at the Beacon Club)
- Duded-up men with shiny vests (James Arness: The First Traveling Saleslady,
Maverick with sparkling vest: Duel at Sundown,
Jack Kelly, Richard Long: The Goose-Drownder)
related (Maverick's ornate vest: Maverick Springs,
hero's fancy vest: Game at the Beacon Club)
- Long slickers (police: Footsteps in the Fog, hero: The Goose-Drownder)
- Hanging up coats (maid: Footsteps in the Fog, coming in out of rain: The Goose-Drownder)
related (Costello's hat fixed on wall by thrown knife: Ride 'Em Cowboy,
steward takes hero's evening cloak: Game at the Beacon Club)
- White tie and tails (audience at opening rodeo: Ride 'Em Cowboy,
orchestra: Phantom of the Opera,
hero: Footsteps in the Fog,
rich man's party, contrast with lowbrow clothes: Royal Four Flush,
hero, rich gamblers, servants: Game at the Beacon Club)
- Head gear (opera costumes: Phantom of the Opera, native headdresses: South Sea Woman,
tall top hats: Royal Four Flush, hero's top hat: Game at the Beacon Club)
Arthur Lubin: Collaborators
- Clint Eastwood, early in his career (Francis in the Navy, The First Traveling Saleslady,
Escapade in Japan, Duel at Sundown, Clint Eastwood Meets Mr. Ed)
- Mae West (role planned for: The First Traveling Saleslady, appearance: Mae West Meets Mr. Ed)
- Anthony Radecki (Francis Goes to the Races, Rhubarb, Francis Goes to West Point,
It Grows on Trees, South Sea Woman,
Francis Covers the Big Town, Francis Joins the WACS, Escapade in Japan)
- Barry Kelley (Francis Goes to the Races, South Sea Woman, Game at the Beacon Club,
11 episodes as Carol's Dad: Mr. Ed)
- Gage Clarke (Game at the Beacon Club, Greenbacks, Unlimited,
The Missing Statue, Ed's Christmas Story)
Here are ratings for various films directed by Arthur Lubin. Everything at least **1/2 is recommended.
- Buck Privates **1/2
- Ride 'Em Cowboy **
- Impact **1/2
- South Sea Woman **1/2
- Footsteps in the Fog **
- The First Traveling Saleslady **
- Duel at Sundown **1/2
- Royal Four Flush **1/2
- The Cats of Paradise **1/2
- Maverick Springs **
- The Goose-Drownder ****
- The Marquessa *
- Maverick and Juliet *1/2
- Guatemala City **
- A Flock of Trouble ***
- The Misfortune Teller **1/2
- Greenbacks, Unlimited ***
- Outcast of Cripple Creek **1/2
- Game at the Beacon Club **
Buck Privates (1941) is a comedy with music, about raw recruits in the
US Army as it prepares for the soon-to-arrive World War II. It some ways, the plot is a loose framework
for a vaudeville show, featuring the then new comedy team of Abbott and Costello,
and the musical group the Andrews Sisters.
Buck Privates contains some militaristic fantasies or day dreams, both comic and oddly wish fulfilling:
Similar tongue-in-cheek comic fantasies open The Incredible Mr. Limpet, which shows Naval officers
in full dress uniform marching towards a top secret area, guarded by equally spiffy Marines.
- The giant recruiting center takes place in a converted movie theater. The process of luring people
into the Army is disguised as luring people into a movie. Uniformed soldiers are mistaken for
theater ushers and ticket takers.
- The tough uniformed New York City cop (Nat Pendleton) who hounds the low life crook heroes
(Abbott and Costello) gets almost magically transformed into the uniformed Army Sergeant in charge
of them in boot camp. They join to Army to escape him, only to find him still in charge.
- The handsome chauffeur (Alan Curtis) also goes from a spiffy uniform in private life,
to a uniformed role in the Army.
- Abbott gets put in charge of drilling Costello as a soldier, in one of the film's best comic set pieces.
- It's not military, but what Abbott and Costello think are taxi drivers suddenly turn into uniformed
- The uniformed band leader at an Army dance suddenly becomes a gifted solo dancer.
Recruiting scenes will return in Arthur Lubin's The First Traveling Saleslady and The Incredible Mr. Limpet.
Servants Become Equal
The chauffeur assumes a new position of equality when he enters the Army. He is now on the same level
as his former upper class employer. Similarly, the heroine of Footsteps in the Fog goes from maid
to in charge of the mansion.
The chauffeur reminisces angrily about carrying the drunken playboy and putting him to bed.
In The Goose-Drownder, the hero will have to provide similar aid to the injured villain.
Working Class Films
Both Buck Privates and The Goose-Drownder have kitchen scenes of men cooking. These are institutions:
an Army kitchen in Buck Privates, a stagecoach way station in The Goose-Drownder.
The honest, respectable men in both films are clearly at the bottom of social hierarchies, the lowest of the low
on the social scale. Considerable sympathy is extended to these honest men by the films. The films have a
pro-proletarian viewpoint, of sympathy for those at the bottom.
The two romantic leads are both personal rivals, and pursuing the same woman.
One rescues the other man, saving his life. It is on a cliff. The one man climbs up the other's body, to safety.
Inevitably, while the one man is climbing over the other, the two men look as if they are grappling sexually.
The two men start out as bitter rivals, but this scene and related events show them learning to respect
each other. Their progress from dislike to friendship can also be read as as kind of love story.
Some camera movements highlight key scenes with the troops:
"The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" has a long take in the middle, as the Andrew Sisters first move down
some steps, then move into the audience, then retreat back up the steps. The camera also moves to
the left and then to the right, to follow the lead singer's encounters with individual soldiers.
- Men swearing in, as the camera forcefully moves down their queue.
- A camera movements that goes to the right, then back to the left, of the row of men,
as the Captain gives an inspirational speech welcoming the new recruits.
Impact (1949) is a crime thriller. It is from the film noir era,
and is often considered an example of film noir.
Impact has a structure found in several Lubin films: bad guys try to commit a crime;
good guys, and a bit of luck, prevent them.
Impact opens with business executive reporting to a board meeting of his company.
The scene anticipates the military court opening of South Sea Woman.
Both show a macho man hero, tough and uncompromising, appearing before a group
of tough, powerful older men, who put his actions on trial. What starts out in both cases
as an investigation of the hero, eventually turns into a public celebration and endorsement
of his deeds.
South Sea Woman
South Sea Woman (1953) is one of several film comedies Arthur Lubin made with a service background,
here the US Marines. This film is deliberately silly, and sometimes very funny.
The courtroom sequences which frame the story, are some of the best parts of South Sea Woman.
They show Lubin's fondness for spit-and-polish militarist imagery. Several different kinds of uniforms
are on display.
It is remarkably easy to see a gay subtext in South Sea Woman. Sergeant Jim O'Hearn (Burt Lancaster)
picked out Private Davey White (Chuck Connors) as a raw recruit, and developed him to be both a top soldier
and his best buddy. Now the Sergeant is trying to break up Davey's proposed marriage to Ginger (Virginia Mayo).
This comes very close to "a gay man trying to prevent to man he loves, from getting married to a woman
and leaving him". It is hardly a "subtext": it comes close to being the overt plot-line of the film.
Later costumes the men wear keep up the gay imagery. These include a South Seas headdress that
must be one of the most phallic costumes in screen history. The clothes ironing scene is also flamboyant and funny.
The saloon is a seaside building, with outdoor staircase and a sort of balcony or platform at top.
It looks a bit like the pier in The Incredible Mr. Limpet.
There is a long camera movement around the court, showing the expressions of the main people
present, one after another.
Chuck Connors makes his entrance in the film, seen in a mirror in the night club.
He is seen by the heroine. This perhaps suggests there is something unreal about Connors' character.
He is perhaps a figure of romantic fantasy, both of the heroine and the Sergeant (Lancaster).
The Sergeant has created and shaped Connors' character to be a duplicate of his own,
as a macho male and ideal Marine. The dialogue says the Sergeant has made Connors
a "carbon copy" of himself. Like the mirror, this suggests a created image, rather than reality.
Connors is one of the few characters, who does not appear in the courtroom scenes.
There are plot reasons for this. But it also suggests something about his character.
The courtroom scenes in South Sea Woman represent "reality". They frame the picture.
The other events in the film are flashbacks, history recounted by the characters on the witness stand
in the courtroom. These stories can seem like tall tales, wildly exaggerated events.
Connors only appears within these tales and flashbacks. It is if he is a made-up character
within these wild flashback tales, not a figure with an independent, objective reality.
Burt Lancaster and Chuck Connors are somewhat startling to see together:
they are two of the biggest hunks in movie history. This seems to be the only time either man worked with Lubin.
Chuck Connors' character is none-too-bright: quite a difference from the highly intelligent men
Connors often played in his later career. One suspects that South Sea Woman
is trying to excuse some of his character's bad behavior.
Paul Burke is a leading man type, who gets a good comic role as an Ensign at the court martial.
He offers some witty interrogations. Burke would go on to TV fame with The Naked City.
Burke is very spit-and-polish in his naval uniform; in The Naked City
he would always be well-dressed in good suits. Burke also plays articulate, intelligent
characters in both South Sea Woman and The Naked City.
He represents a sort of ideal potential, what one type of man can become:
intelligent, polished, energetic.
Anthony Radecki had most of his brief film career working with Lubin.
He had roles in eight Lubin films. In South Sea Woman, he is the MP in the courtroom.
The First Traveling Saleslady
The First Traveling Saleslady (1956) is a comedy Western starring Ginger Rogers.
The heroine is feminist. She takes salesman jobs previously restricted to men,
gives feminist speeches, and worries about what sort of world she will be leaving for her daughters.
The First Traveling Saleslady is notable in that the heroine and the film do not wimp out
at the end. The heroine keeps her convictions at the end. She gets married, but the film shows
that her husband, initially skeptical about woman's lib, has come to endorse it as an activity
and attitude for his wife and children. This all makes a refreshing take on feminism.
The First Traveling Saleslady was an early example of a number of feminist or woman's suffrage
tales. The Woman (Arnold Laven, 1959), an episode of The Rifleman,
is a politically impressive look at the campaign for giving women the right to vote.
That same year, the Western TV series Bat Masterson also had
an excellent episode on woman's suffrage, The Inner Circle,
so something was in the zeitgeist. The 1959 comedy The Remarkable
Mr. Pennypacker (Henry Levin) also contains sympathetic allusions
to woman's suffrage.
A subplot shows sympathetic Clint Eastwood, recruiting for Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders.
His recruiting table in a hotel anticipates another Lubin historical comedy,
The Incredible Mr. Limpet, and its World War II recruiters on tables right on city sidewalks.
Buck Privates opened with a giant recruiting and induction center, occupying a movie theater.
Maverick: Royal Four Flush
Royal Four Flush (1959) is another Arthur Lubin film about a poor woman
opportunistically trying to cheat her way into the life of a rich man.
Unlike Footsteps in the Fog, this heroine a good deal more sympathetic, and the story
is played for comedy, rather than mystery and tragedy as in Footsteps in the Fog.
And she is viewed vastly more positively than the vicious male fortune-hunter in Duel at Sundown.
Like some other Lubin heroines such as The First Traveling Saleslady, this woman really wants to run a business.
And her lying to the rich man aside, she seems to be relatively honest in her business dealings.
The rich man is also not an exemplar of the upper classes, unlike Stewart Granger in Footsteps in the Fog.
Instead, he is a conspicuously working class man in his origins, mannerisms and feelings.
The upper classes at their obnoxious worst are represented instead in Royal Four Flush
by a crooked but upper-crust-acting gambler.
As in The Goose-Drownder to come, hero Bart Maverick recognizes the woman's real identity from a past meeting.
Unlike The Goose-Drownder, the heroine's past is scrupulously honest, however plebeian and sordid.
The children's investigation into the heroine's past is perhaps a version of
the concern over moralists in other Lubin. Condemning other people's morals and pasts is
seen negatively by Lubin.
There are many references to animals, in the comedy dialogue.
The countess also has a pet dog.
The poker game has a long camera movement, that moves one by one to various poker players,
pauses, then moves on to the next. It also moves to the pot and pauses, before going back to the hero.
The camera follows the daughter across the room, to the door.
The poker game in the show's midpoint, opens with a straight-down overhead view.
The villain is often gesturing with his huge top hat.
The sympathetic rich man keeps calling for his top hat near the end, as he is about to go out and propose.
A later shot shows the hat. Both tops hats are huge, and likely phallic symbols.
The huge hammer wielded earlier by the rich man is also a phallic symbol.
Maverick: The Cats of Paradise
The Cats of Paradise (1959) is a black comedy. Although funny, it contains
some of the darkest material in Lubin, and is among the most sinister episodes of
the light-hearted Maverick TV show.
Paradise is a town. It is run by some of the most vicious and anti-democratic leaders in Lubin.
It recalls the island under control of Vichy French dictators in South Sea Woman.
Lubin clearly despises such regimes. They come in for some effective satire in his work.
The episode with the seamen, recalls that Lubin made a rowdy sea adventure in
South Sea Woman.
The cats are more of Arthur Lubin's animals that perform a social function or role.
The dialogue is filled with animal imagery and jokes of all kinds: a Lubin tradition.
Lance Fuller often played pleasantly perverse characters in TV Westerns. He often suggests
men who adopt strange personas that they find gratifying. In The Cats of Paradise,
he plays a professional hit-man all duded up in a black desperado's outfit.
Maverick: The Goose-Drownder
The Goose-Drownder (1959) is probably the best episode of Maverick,
after the pilots directed by Budd Boetticher.
The title includes the animal imagery that runs through Arthur Lubin.
It is highly atmospheric, with the rain constantly pouring down.
This recalls the opening of Footsteps in the Fog. Both films show men in
long rain slickers: the police in Footsteps in the Fog, the hero in The Goose-Drownder.
Both films also show coats being hung up on pegs, making for a visually vivid gesture.
The closed carriage in Footsteps in the Fog resembles the stagecoach in
The Goose-Drownder. although this might be coincidence.
Both The Goose-Drownder and the later The Incredible Mr. Limpet show water proceeding
from ceilings to indoor containers:
Both films also have bodies in the water: in The Incredible Mr. Limpet, this is
the living hero falling off the pier; in The Goose-Drownder, it is the discovery of the
- In The Goose-Drownder, rain leaks from the ceiling into buckets.
- In The Incredible Mr. Limpet, hoses lead from above to the hero's aquarium tank.
In both Footsteps in the Fog and The Goose-Drownder, a character makes an important discovery
after unexpectedly finding blood on their hands. In Footsteps in the Fog,
this occurs when the heroine hangs up the hero's coat; in The Goose-Drownder the hero helps carry
a sick man who allegedly suffers from "lung trouble".
There are plot elements in common between Lubin's mystery Who Killed Aunt Maggie? and The Goose-Drownder:
- hidden loot,
- a traveling salesman who plays similar role in the plots,
- characters stranded in isolated locales due to storms.
Like The First Traveling Saleslady, The Goose-Drownder has a heroine who
gives the hero a long discussion of feminist themes. While the New Woman heroine of
The First Traveling Saleslady concentrates on a positive vision of a feminist future,
including women in "men's jobs" and getting the vote,
The Goose-Drownder looks at how men victimize women:
This sort of detailed look at male exploitation and mistreatment of women became
much better known in the Woman's Lib 1970's. It is very interesting to see it in a 1959 television show.
- The heroine starts life by being an unpaid slavey to ungrateful brothers, cooking and cleaning.
- Her preacher father "hated women" and depicted them as evil, in his version of
"fire and brimstone" Christianity.
- Her employer sexually harassed her.
- Finally, the main job she could get was as a saloon woman, sexually exploited by men.
Leonard Praskins was the veteran screenwriter of The Goose-Drownder. I'm not trying to minimize
his contribution to this fine work. A decade later, Praskins co-wrote an episode The Hell Wind (1968)
of The Virginian, which has plot features in common with The Goose-Drownder (SPOILERS):
The Hell Wind is an absorbing show. Despite its plot links, it is by no means a remake of
The Goose-Drownder. Instead it throughly reworks the material in new directions.
- The characters are trapped in a remote shack due to a wind storm, like the heavy rain storm traps
the cast of The Goose-Drownder.
- A woman in both shows has a past as a grifter in a cheap saloon, who victimized the hero several years ago.
In both shows, she is trying to reform.
- A big sum of gold coins in hidden in both shows.
- Both shows contain mystery plots, although different in details.
The Virginian later reworked this material into still another show, The Wind of Outrage (1968).
In that, a snowstorm traps characters in an isolated inn. The hero once again recognizes a woman there
who victimized him years ago. Leonard Praskins had nothing to do with this version.
Cheyenne: Outcast of Cripple Creek
Outcast of Cripple Creek (1960) is the only Cheyenne episode directed by Arthur Lubin.
Outcast of Cripple Creek is a combination "marshal tries to clean up the town"
Western, with the "civics lesson" Western:
- The town's situation, being the railhead destination of cattle drives,
and their rowdy, shoot-up-the-town cowboys, echoes Wichita (Jacques Tourneur, 1955).
In both films, the town's honest new Marshal wants to clamp down on saloons that cater to the rowdies,
but the "respectable" townspeople oppose him because it would mean a loss of revenue from their bars.
- The finale has the Marshal trying to get citizens to help him fight the bad guys, but getting very little support.
This echoes High Noon (Fred Zinnemann, 1952).
Arthur Lubin has a recurring interest in moralists. Outcast of Cripple Creek shows the town's seemingly
respectable, "moral" people as secret owners of the town's vice spots.
The way the Mayor keeps signing up people to be city Marshal, perhaps echoes the military recruiting found
in other Arthur Lubin films.
The injured marshals are treated in beds set up in a hotel lobby (at the film's end).
This echoes the scenes in other Lubin, where travelers camp out in lobbies of otherwise full hotels.
The hotel is fancy and formal, like other Lubin hotels.
The Arthur Lubin subject of "lifestyle changes after a death" returns. New Marshal Cheyenne is assigned as a perk of his job,
the house occupied by the old, dead Marshal. But Cheyenne is reluctant to through out the former Marshal's daughter from the house.
Lubin humor about rear ends returns, when Marshal Cheyenne paddles a recalcitrant cowboy, rather than shooting him.
A somewhat similar scene occurred in an earlier Cheyenne episode not directed by Lubin,
The Spanish Grant (1957).
The suspense finale has "cattle herded through town", one of Arthur Lubin's persistent animal images.
This recalls the comedy trial finale of The First Traveling Saleslady, where the cattle are more harmless.
Bronco: Game at the Beacon Club
Game at the Beacon Club (1959) is the only Bronco episode directed by Arthur Lubin.
Change of Pace: Bronco gets to play Maverick
Game at the Beacon Club is designed as a change of pace episode of Bronco.
It is clearly intended to put its hero Bronco in the kind of comedy-adventure featured on Maverick:
By this time Arthur Lubin had already been directing Maverick for over half a season, often in comic episodes.
So he was a natural choice for this "Bronco gets to play a Maverick role" tale.
- Light-hearted comedy.
- A well-dressed hero in fancy clothes.
- A sophisticated woman con artist as a comic villain.
- Rich but difficult millionaires, who give the hero trouble.
- Upper crust settings.
A Transformed Hero
This was the first episode of the second season of Bronco.
Warner Brothers TV Westerns had previously had a big success with another change of pace show:
The Conspirators (Leslie H. Martinson, 1957),
the second episode of the third season of Cheyenne.
The Conspirators gets its tough cowboy hero Cheyenne all dressed up white tie and tails,
doing sophisticated comedy among the polished-but-menacing. Game at the Beacon Club
does the same thing for its cowboy hero Bronco. Both episodes expand their characters' "range".
Both show their tough cowboy hero being transformed into a sophisticate.
Unfortunately, I don't think Game at the Beacon Club is as good as The Conspirators
or the better episodes of Maverick:
Transformed heroes are also a personal subject for Arthur Lubin.
In South Sea Woman, Sergeant Burt Lancaster has trained recruit Chuck Connors to be both the ideal Marine,
and his buddy. This has happened before the film opens. In Game at the Beacon Club
the millionaire transforms working class cowboy hero Bronco, by buying him fancy upper class clothes.
This transformation takes place during the main story, making it more prominent in the plot of
Game at the Beacon Club than in the earlier South Sea Woman.
- Partly this is script problems: it runs out of ideas half-way through.
- Ty Hardin ("Bronco") just doesn't seem as talented as Clint Walker (who reveals his unexpected singing abilities
and flair for sophistication in The Conspirators) or the expert comic actors James Garner and Jack Kelly on Maverick.
- Both James Garner as Maverick and Clint Walker in The Conspirators seem genuinely stylish and spectacular
in their fancy clothes. Whether it is Ty Hardin's fault or the costume designer's, Hardin looks like
a low-brow who is temporarily dressed-up in decent clothes.
Both Bronco and Chuck Connors in South Sea Woman are seen in mirrors, in scenes with the heroine.
This perhaps suggests they are figures of romantic fantasy.
Lubin regular Barry Kelley is featured.
And this is the first of four shows Arthur Lubin did with Gage Clarke.