Monday, May 19, 2014

Wolf Hunters (1949)

First of the Kirby Grant led series of films about Corpora1 Rod Webb and his dog Chinook based on the stories by James Oliver Curwood. The film is very different than the later films which could be very violent and had rather complicated plots.

The film opens with Paul Lautrec, a trapper finding some of his friends, murdered and their baby left alone. Taking the baby he heads home to report the murder. McTavish, the head of the fur company in the area, covets Lautrec's girlfriend and needing a patsy for his fur thefts (he's the one masterminding recent thefts and murders) send Lautrec to make delivery of furs and to meet his end at the hands of an assassin in the woods. Lautrec is shot but saved by the appearance of Webb and Chinook, who get the bullet out of the trapper before heading off to solve the murders. Things are further complicated by the cruel wife of McTavish's boss who sees in McTavish a chance to better financial situation.

More a conventional detective story where we know who did it and wait to to see how the detective solves the case, this the sort of story that would be right at home on TV nowadays. Its clear that this wsn't directly intended to begin a series of 8 films since Webb and Chinook are barely in the first half hour. In a weird way this film is almost two films with Webb and CHinook taking up half the film and everyone else  taking up the other.

Easily one of the best films in the series this film could very easily stand aloneon its own terms. Its one of the few films in the series which I would have been happy to buy all on it's lonesome. That it comes as part of a three film DVD from the Warner archive (its the first film on the second Webb and CHinook DVD) mmakes it all the more  a must buy.

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