Along Came Jones Reviews
(1945) Along Came Jones
Based from a novel called "The Useless Cowboy" written by Alan Le May starring Gary Cooper as an unconvincing bumpkin whose never held a gun in his life despite being taller than majority of it's cast but he still gets mistaken as a ruthless outlaw. Upon watching this film, one should be able to tell actor Gary Cooper handpicked Loretta Young to star as his leading lady since he was also credited as producer. It's made like a made-for-tv movie except that it's in black and white- this film is so lame it almost looks like that it was originally made for kids.
1 out of 4
The production values of this modest Independent Pictures production reflect the restrictions imposed by the government on Hollywood during World War II. No movie could boast more than $5-thousand dollars worth of new production materials. Consequently, everything appears just as plain and generic as you can imagine. Nobody has more than a couple of costume changes, and the performers often act in front of back projected landscapes when they hit the trail. This is one of those westerns where you never see a train, the U.S. Calvary, a nation of war whooping Native Americans, or scenic Monument Valley landscapes. In other words, white Anglo-Saxon American Protestants swap bullets with each other over the course of its unhurried 90 minutes. Nevertheless, Cooper's amiable performance and Heisler's restrained helming make "Along Came Jones" a pleasure to watch. Interesting, "Along Came Jones" anticipated John Ford's last great western "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." Loretta Young does for Cooper in "Along Came Jones" what John Wayne did for James Stewart in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."
"Along Came Jones" opens with a one-of-its-kind stagecoach hold-up. Monty Jarrad (Dan Duryea of "Ball of Fire") waits in ambush with his Winchester rifle as a six-horse stagecoach trundles along the river road and shoots the coach tongue that holds the horses in harness. The coachman loses control of the vehicle and its rear wheel smashes into the rocks at the side of the trail. Monty wounds the guard, armed with a Winchester instead of a shotgun, and the guy plunges off the swiftly moving vehicle and falls into a tree. The Wells Fargo coach careens to a halt into the side of the mountain, and Monty rides up to it, snatches the money bag from the driver, Ira Waggoner (Walter Sand), and hightails it off down the trail. The guard recovers himself sufficiently to hit the fleeing outlaw and Monty drops his rifle on the road. In a close-up, we can see his name etched onto the long gun: Monty Jarrad. The next shot shows a lawman posting a $1-thousand dollar reward dodger for Jarrad.
Song warbling Melody Jones (Gary Cooper of "Sergeant York") and his sidekick George Fury (William Demarest of "All Through the Night") are riding along when they spot the town of Payneville in the distance (bogus looking back projection again) and Melody realizes that they took a wrong turn at the fork in the road some 400 to 500 miles back. George shakes his head. "Well, it don't surprise me none, I can you tell you that a cowhand that goes in for breaking horses by the times he's your size, he's been hit in the seat of the pants so many times he ain't got any brains anymore‚??just a kind of yellow oatmeal in his head." Our heroes mosey into Payneville and the First Chance Saloon barkeeper notices the initials MJ on Melody's chaps and assumes Melody is Monty Jarrad. Melody spots pretty looking Cherry de Longpre (Loretta Young of "Ladies Courageous") prancing down the board. He follows her while George enters a saloon. George doesn't understand why everybody refers to him as Uncle Roscoe. Meanwhile, Melody eavesdrops on Ira who observes how "very nice" Cherry walks, and Melody slugs him. Before Ira can pull his six-gun, another citizen points to the chaps on Melody's horse with the initials MJ. Everybody thinks Melody is actually Monty. Melody has never commanded such respect from anybody. All the time this is happening, Melody has no clue why the citizenry are treating him with such latitude. George is infuriated his reception in the saloon. He hates being called Uncle Roscoe, Monty's sidekick. When he rejoins Melody, he complains about the town. Melody explains how to cast a big shadow. "You got to look like you're somebody and act like you're somebody, like you can take care of yourself no matter what happens, and then pretty soon you're somebody."
Eventually, Cherry saves Melody from getting ambushed in town and they ride out to her ranch. The real Monty Jarrad isn't so sure about Cherry's plan to make everybody believe that Melody is him. She explains that she has fixed them up so that the posse will be riding south after Melody while Monty can ride north. In the course of events, Cherry changes her mind about mean-spirited Monty, to the extent that she helps Melody out of several tight scrapes. She leads him to the shack where Monty has stashed the stolen loot and they find themselves up to their necks in one tight spot after another. Heisler keeps the action moving along fast enough so that this hokum never stalls out. "Along Came Jones" turned out to be a genuine crowd pleaser. Everybody who made it seems like they were have a ball. Nunnally Johnson provides some choice lines for everybody and the final shoot-out is a blast. There are enough twists and turns to make "Along Came Jones" more than just an ordinary western.