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Streets of Laredo

1949 | FULLSCREEN (4:3) | Color | Quality: Excellent

William Holden

Macdonald Carey

William Bendix, Mona Freeman


Three happy-go-lucky bandits eek out a small living for themselves robbing stagecoaches. They are William Holden, MacDonald Carey and William Bendix. All is going well for them until they are chased by a posse which separates one from the other two. Those two (Bendix and Holden) eventually decide to change their life's direction and join up with the Texas Rangers, while the other one (Carey) keeps to his old ways and becomes a notorious dastardly outlaw. Thus, the stage is set for confrontations and the final showdown in the mean streets of Laredo! Mona Freeman is along for the ride as the love interest who falls for one of the bandits but eventually catches on that the man of her dreams is in reality a scumbag.

Streets of Laredo is a remake of Paramount's successful Texas Rangers with William Holden, William Bendix, and Macdonald Carey playing the parts that were done thirteen years earlier by Fred MacMurray, Jack Oakie, and Lloyd Nolan. This is one of those very rare cases where a remake proved better than the original. The screenplay develops Holden and Bendix's transition from outlaws to Rangers in believable fashion. What is suggested is that some outlaws can be reformed by respect and an honorable code of conduct, which strikes me as a worthwhile piece of insight and good moral to the story. The characters grow and change. Holden becomes the stalwart hero torn between friendship and duty. William Bendix is forced to choose which of his two friends he will support. McDonald Carey goes from charming outlaw to charming black-hearted villain. All the actors pull it off well - particularly Cary who, dressed all in black with a smug expression and heavy-lidded eyes, morphs from playful small-time outlaw into a surprisingly formidable villain! An astute, absorbing drama with beautiful photography that will satisfy fans of the genre who like long scenic views, big clouds, and a sense of open horizons.

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