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Riders of Death Valley

3.9 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Join this all-star cast as the "Riders of Death Valley" battle the notorious outlaw "Wolf Reade" and his pack of desperadoes for a fabulous lost gold mine. Contains 15 episodes.

Special Features

None.

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: Multiple Formats, 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: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A6CKXE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,327 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Riders of Death Valley" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Lovins HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 15, 2005
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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A typical period comedy with some goofy characters in John Hubbard and Adolphe Menjou as a couple of escapees from a nut house. Neither is actually nuts but are there for other reasons. Carole Landis is the female lead as the owner of a roving carnival.

It's a movie that grew on me after I watched it a couple of times. At first it seemed quite disjointed (probably from listening to other reviewers of the film) but after the second time I watched it, it became more entertaining and quite funny in its own way.

There's quite a bit of odd goofiness in this movie that doesn't seem to exactly fit but somehow they keep pulling it together enough for the movie to keep moving. Keep in mind the period when it was made and you'll see a lot more in this movie than you otherwise might.

Adolphe Menjou is the best part as the well meaning "Colonel Caraway" who befriends John Hubbard's character, "Drogo Gaines" and does his best to steer Drogo in the right direction. Of course it always seems that Drogo is getting into a little more trouble from Caraway's actions than he'd like but in the end, well, just watch the movie.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Riders of Death Valley," Universal's "Million Dollar Serial" was clearly intended to be something special, better than their usual output. Released in 1941 and Directed by Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor, it was the last 15-chapter Universal serial, featuring a large cast familiar from "B" Westerns and serials, adding Charles Bickford as the main outlaw leader.

Jim Benton (Dick Foran) leads the "Riders of Death Valley" to protect miners and prospectors against outlaws, headed by Wolf Reade (Charles Bickford) but secretly hired by saloon owner Joseph Kirby (James Blaine), who wants to take over the miners' claims. An old prospector, Chuckawalla Charlie (Frank Austin) is brought into the saloon, dying, and gives Benton a map of his find, the "Lost Aztec" mine, making him co-heir with Mary Morgan (Jeanne Kelly), Chuckawalla's niece. When Kirby fails to gain possession the map, he has "The Wolf" pursue Benton and his party, resulting in a chase lasting most of the remaining 14 chapters. Opening titles are accompanied by the song "Ride Along" by Milton Rosen and Everett Carter, belted out by Foran and chorus in a studio, while the actors are shown riding and making faces as if they were singing. At least they don't do that during the chapters.

While mostly a repetitive running gun battle, it should be remembered that the chapters provided a weekly "fix" of cowboy action, and the plot wasn't especially important. It also didn't matter that some of the cliffhangers are not resolved convincingly; it was enough that the hero survived. Viewed with some time between the chapters, interest is maintained by the cast of familiar faces, and some well-managed humor.

Benton's riders include Tombstone (Buck Jones), Borax Bill (Guinn "Big Boy" Williams), and Pancho (Leo Carrillo).
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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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