Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Two Guys from Texas (1948)

Two Guys from Texas (1948) is, in style and story, a bridge between Abbott and Costello's Ride 'Em Cowboy (1942) and Martin and Lewis' Pardners (1956).  The films have essentially the same plot: during a visit to a dude ranch, a comedy duo run into trouble when they join a bronco busting competition and become entangled with a criminal gang.  

Ride 'Em Cowboy (1942)

Pardners (1956)

Lou Costello was in his prime during the making of Ride 'Em Cowboy.

The obvious reason for the similarities of Ride 'Em Cowboy and Two Guys from Texas is the fact that the films share the same producer, Alex Gottlieb.  

Two Guys from Texas also shares plot elements with Stir Crazy (1980).  First, a pair of criminals use disguises to rob a bank and our heroes end up getting blamed for the robbery.  And Stir Crazy, too, climaxes with a rodeo.

Postscript (Published on May 5, 2022)

It turns out that another film, Cowboy from Brooklyn (1938), has a secure place within the dude ranch comedy lineage.  

Let's start with the connection (a rather big connection) between Cowboy from Brooklyn and Two Guys from TexasCowboy from Brooklyn was based on the 1937 play "Howdy Stranger" by Robert Sloane and Louis Pelletier.  As it turns out, "Howdy Stranger" also provided the source material for Two Guys from TexasTwo Guys from Texas retains little of the original story.  The romantic couple meet in the same way and a character's fear of animals is used as an major plot device.  But, regardless of the plot changes, the film stands as an official remake of Cowboy from Brooklyn.

Cowboy from Brooklyn (1938)

Two Guys from Texas (1948)

Now, let's examine the connection between Cowboy from Brooklyn and Ride 'Em CowboyRide 'Em Cowboy's Bronco Bob Mitchell (Dick Foran), a popular singing cowboy and the author of bestselling western novels, is not the authentic cowboy that he pretends to be.  Determined to become a real cowboy, he spends much of the film training for a bronco riding contest.  Cowboy from Brooklyn's Wyoming Steve Gibson (Dick Powell), a popular singing cowboy, is marketed to the public as an authentic cowboy despite having been brought up in Brooklyn.  Determined to maintain his cowboy image, he overcomes his fear of animals with hypnotism so that he can successfully compete in a bulldogging contest.  Foran, as Wyoming Steve rival Sam Thorne in Cowboy from Brooklyn and Bronco Bob in Ride 'Em Cowboy, gets to play a singing cowboy in both films.  It is very likely that Ride 'Em Cowboy was inspired by the earlier film.  Of course, the dubious origins of the Bronco Bob plot matter little to fans of Abbott & Costello.

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