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Riders of Death Valley (1944)

Buck Jones , Dick Foran , Ford Beebe , Ray Taylor  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

List Price: $29.99
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Product Details

  • Actors: Buck Jones, Dick Foran, Leo Carrillo, Glenn Strange, Lon Chaney Jr.
  • Directors: Ford Beebe, Ray Taylor
  • Writers: Basil Dickey, George H. Plympton, Sherman L. Lowe, Jack O'Donnell
  • Format: Black & White, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Vci Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 30, 2005
  • Run Time: 287 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A6CKXE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #313,322 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Riders of Death Valley" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

This western serial has our able heroes escaping various perils devised by the evil Wolfe Reade and his pack of outlaws, who wish to lay claim to a fabled lost mine. Bonus Features: Digitally Mastered & Restored | Photo Gallery & Serial Poster Gallery | Actor Bios | Scene Selection Menu | Bonus Serial Trailers. Specs: 2-DVD9s; Dolby Digital Mono; 287 minutes; B&W; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - NR; Year - 1941; SRP - $29.99.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best serials ever made? August 27, 2006
Format:DVD
An earlier review by "Mr. Jim" expresses my same views on RIDERS OF DEATH VALLEY. It is one of the finest serials, certainly the finest Western serial, ever made. Released by Universal, reputedly in sepia tone and costing one million dollars to make, and featuring one of the finest casts to be corraled by any studio at the time, RIDERS OF DEATH VALLEY will offer just about any viewer thrills, chills, and spills...amidst magnificent scenery and great camera work. VCI has obtained an immaculate print, sharp and clean, and the soundtrack is fine. With such familiars as Dick Foran, Buck Jones, Charles Bickford, Leo Carrillo, Noah Beery Jr., Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, Glenn Strange, Roy Barcroft, Monte Blue, Ethan Laidlaw, and a host of other stalwarts ridin' and shootin', well, this is the kind of entertainment that won't let you down. VCI has attractively packaged this release, with all sorts of extras, including cast bios'. The price is right, and this release is highly recommended. Our thanks again to VCI for a superior product at a reasonable price....
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
VCI Entertainment and Universal Pictures present "Riders of Death Valley" (1941) (digitally remastered), 15 Chapters of vintage serial loaded with thrilling drama and high adventure sequences featuring heroes and villains Dick Foran, Leo Carrillo, Buck Jones, Charles Bickford, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, Lon Chaney Jr, Noah Beery Jr. Glenn Strange and Roy Barcroft..there is a great deal of entertainment here for the cliffhanger fans out there... It has more of everything with lots of action, hard riding chases and plenty of shootouts...Universal Pictures publicity department reportedly budgeted one million dollars for "Riders of Death Valley", this was an unheard dollar amount for any B-Western.

The "Riders" are a group of stout hearted men protecting local miners from the bad guys of the territory...Jim Benton and Tombstone head up the riders...at the other end of the story we have a pack of wolves lead by Wolf Reade, Kirby and Davis who control the town and want more, meaning gold and total power...Benton has part ownership in the "Lost Aztec Mine" along with Mary Morgan...can Benton fight off Wolf Reade and the other hyenas....each episode gets closer to the answer, watch this and relive those thrilling yesteryears of the Saturday Matinee.

Under director's Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor with screenplay by Sherman Lowe, George H Plympton and Basil Dickey...the cast include Dick Foran (Jim Benton), Leo Carrillo (Pancho Lopez), Buck Jones (Tombstone), Charles Bickford (Wolf Reade), Guinn "Big Boy" Williams (Borax Bill), Lon Chaney Jr (Butch - Henchman), Noah Beery Jr (Smokey), Jean Brooks (Mary Morgan), James Blaine (Joseph Kirby), Monte Blue (Rance Davis), Glenn Strange (Tex, sidekick toBenton), Roy Barcroft (Dirk - Henchman), Jack Rockwell (Trigger - Henchman)...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ridin' and Ridin' and Ridin'--For Fifteen Weeks May 24, 2006
Format:DVD
I managed to finish the Alpha release of RIDERS OF DEATH VALLEY. It nearly finished me! If you have to have it, the VCI release is probably the better choice for sound and picture quality.

The 1941 serial, a Universal product, is alternately goofy and tedious, with no resemblance to a taut chapterplay like FLASH GORDON, released only five years earlier by the studio. Way too long at fifteen chapters, it nonetheless makes an effort to tell a story with recognizable characters--that is, characters with actual personalities, rare in the world of serials. Most of the actors, some of them well above average, seem to be enjoying themselves and the quirky script. Light humor is the order of the day among the Riders (good-guy vigilantes who are out to protect miners' interests against corrupt businessmen and their hired guns), with Guinn "Big Boy" Williams and Leo Carillo playing a sagebrush version of the Bickersons, while Buck Jones throws in one wisecrack after another (often aimed at Carillo's fractured English). As Pancho, Leo Carillo plays a somewhat feistier version of the Pancho he would play alongside Duncan Renaldo in TV's THE CISCO KID. Watching that series as a child, I had no idea that Carillo had already used the line "Let's went!" seven thousand four hundred and sixty-seven times before--and all in this serial.

Among the heavies, Charles Bickford's Wolfe Reade stands out. A worthy villain--he even scares his own men. Bickford had appeared with Garbo in ANNA CHRISTIE a decade earlier and looks annoyed at having to gallop around in the tumbleweeds with Lon Chaney, Jr.

The town to which everyone repairs now and then is called Panamint, which sounds like something you might put on your toothbrush.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:DVD
As World War Two was just beginning to rage in Europe, Hal Roach saw the writing on the wall and was bringing his brilliant career as a comedic producer and director to a close. He had been producing and directing comedies since he "discovered" Harold Lloyd in 1915, but--with European markets gone (and his plans for a producing alliance with Benito Mussolini's State-owned Cinecietta studios literally gone up in smoke) he went to the gate one final time for the comedy gem ROAD SHOW, and then prepared to join the war effort as an officer and turn his "Lot O'Fun" over to the Signal Corps to use for the production of Military training films. Practically all of the (mostly) unbilled but very familiar faces who graced the Charley Chase, Thelma Todd, Laurel and Hardy, and Our Gang Comedies over the preceeding decade made one final appearance under the maestro's direction, and the result was a very funny ninety minutes of escapist joy. Headlined by veteran actor Adolphe Menjou (in what must rank as his most far-out role as an escapee from a mental institution!) and featuring Roach matinee star John Hubbard paired with leggy Carole Landis (star of 1941's TOPPER RETURNS and the 1939 classic ONE MILLION B.C.) the film combines the wacky world of the traveling carnival (aided by Patsy Kelly and Willie Best!) with the romantic tale of a man who wants to marry but always manages to wriggle off the hook at the last moment--even during the wedding! He plays nuts during the actual ceremony, but the would-be bride calls his bluff and orders him institutionalized. He escapes with Menjou, joins the carnival--and Roach and his stable of comedy character actors take it from there. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gene Autry Movie Ridin on a Rainbow.
I have been a Gene Autry since childhood. I love all of his movies. I wish they made movies like this today. They were made for families without all the terrible language. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Happy Girl
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining in small doses; VCI vs. Alpha
"Riders of Death Valley," Universal's "Million Dollar Serial" was clearly intended to be something special, better than their usual output. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Stanley Kohl;
4.0 out of 5 stars HAL ROACH EDITION!!!!!
The Hal Roach edition from Image is the only option I would advise getting. There were no real issues with this release. Read more
Published 17 months ago by larryj1
5.0 out of 5 stars Autry review
Good music if you like this type of music. Purchased for mother in law as it is her taste in tunes. Not my style but not bad.
Published 22 months ago by Stats Master
1.0 out of 5 stars Total turkey
Given the cast, this is a shocking stinker. The plot rambles, whole scenes are ridiculous, there can't be more than a single laugh in this "comedy," and the music is the worst... Read more
Published on September 11, 2009 by C.A. Arthur
1.0 out of 5 stars ALPHA VS. VCI!!!!!
This serial itself deserves 5 stars, but the Alpha DVD deserves none. Besides the print quality, Alpha has marked the DVD with their logo during the credits. Read more
Published on May 18, 2009 by larryj1
5.0 out of 5 stars LOGO WARNING!!!!!
First off, the 5 stars are for the serial and not for VCI's presentation which rates zero. This is one of a handfull of VCI's serials where their logo pops up here and there. Read more
Published on May 6, 2009 by larryj1
3.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant time killer, with three fine Hoagy Carmichael songs you'll...
When millionaire society playboy Drogo Gaines (John Hubbard) backs out of his marriage in front of the minister by pretending to be crazy, his society gold digger fiancé has... Read more
Published on November 21, 2008 by C. O. DeRiemer
5.0 out of 5 stars ROLLING ON THE RIVER
I don't know that Gene Autry ever made a strickly western western, mostly they are musical entertainments with a western background. Read more
Published on October 12, 2008 by Kay's Husband
5.0 out of 5 stars "Hopalong Cassidy Series ... Riders of the Timberline (1941) ......
Paramount Pictures presents "RIDERS OF THE TIMBERLINE" (17 September 1941) (54 mins/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- One of the most outstanding series of... Read more
Published on March 7, 2008 by J. Lovins
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