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Good "B-Movie" Frontier Adventure from the 1950s
on August 20, 2001
No, this isn't the old Fess Parker television series, but rather a fairly standard frontier adventure programmer from Republic Pictures that was made in the mid-1950s. There's a reasonable amount of action, drama, and even some song, as Daniel Boone and his followers attempt to make a new life for themselves in the wilderness at Boonesboro.
There are no "name" stars here, save minor ex-Tarzan Bruce Bennett (former Olympic shot-putter Herman Brix), Lon Chaney, Jr., and country music star Faron Young, who does get a chance to belt one out. Bennett was in his mid 40s when he made this film and, indeed, looks the part of a father with grown children. The performances of the actors reflect the film's "B-movie" status . . . capable enough for the material, though I find the perpetually grinning Freddy Fernandez (portraying Boone's son Israel) to be annoying. In the middle of the climatic battle, there's Fernandez grinning away like an idiot (I wonder what ever happened to him?). All in all, though, this is a fairly watchable film that's helped by its short running time (approximately 75 minutes).
I have mixed feelings about this DVD transfer. I'm sure at the time of its initial release, "Daniel Boone, Trail Blazer" was probably a very good looking film. However, the print that Brentwood Communications has used has washed out colors and is "soft" looking, but the audio is fine. This is the type of film that probably could only be released on DVD through an independent budget video company; it's highly unlikely that any major studio would release this film on DVD. So, in that repect, viewers looking for older, hard-to-find films on DVD should probably be thankful to the independent video companies for searching out and releasing films like "Daniel Boone, Trail Blazer."