A little of everything
Abilene Town,Excellent, under-appreciated movie, which I suspect fell into public domain because only cheap copies from original prints seem to be available. Randolph Scott is rock solid in the unassuming characterization of a modest but moral man acting as a moderating influence between three distinct groups, the cattlemen, the homesteaders and the tradesmen in a frontier town. Each have their own agendas, and the most alluring enticement for Scott on the bad side of town is the brassy but captivating dance hall singer, Ann Dvorak, in one of the best performances of her career, who is so fresh and sexy in her several numbers that I can well believe a whole roomful of cowboys would just sit there, stone silent with their mouths open, staring at her as she dances and flirts through her songs. I don’t know if her voice was her own or dubbed, but she could sure deliver those lyrics!
There’s not a dull or extraneous scene in the movie, with many well cast characters, fistfights, gunfights, a cattle stampede, romance, comedy and first-rate film noir lighting and dialogue for those who care. And besides all that, I didn’t notice until about the third time I’d watched it, Scott’s horse follows him around when he’s on foot like a pet dog. Very subtle, never made a focus of attention by the director, one of the old-timers who had the sense to let audiences find their own points of interest. I think it’s a classic.