The Film Detective will be ready on June 13 with five new film restorations for the DVD collectible market.
So let’s get to it! We begin with writer/director Robert Tansey’s 1946 film adaptation of James Oliver Curwood’s best selling novel, God’s Country.
This outdoor adventure stars Helen Gilbert (The Falcon Takes Over, The Secret of Dr. Kildare … who was married to none other than Johnny Stompanato in 1949 when he was murdered by Lana Turner’s daughter) as Lynn O'Mally, who lives with her uncle (played by William Farnum) at a remote trading post in the California redwoods with her half-wolf dog Powder. She is at one with the forest.
Arriving in this picturesque setting is a man named Lee Preston (Robert Lowery), his guide, “Timber” Cross (Si Jenks) and their tag-along companion Old Tarp (Buster Keaton). Lee takes an immediate liking to Lynn … but there are problems in “God’s Country” as Preston is the lam for a manslaughter beef and across the lake from the trading post is Howard King (Stanley Andrews) and his ravenous logging company, King Lumber Company.
King has his eye on Lynn’s side of the lake and tricks Preston into helping him with his King is so low that he even shoots Lynn’s pet bear cub!plan.
So will Lee and Lynn find happiness? Will the law catch up to Lee? Will the dastardly King pull off his land-grab? There’s a lot to reckon with in this taught little indie adventure film.
Also on the June 13 release calendar is filmmaker Robert C. Dertano’s 1954 youth-run-wild thriller, Girl Gang. This is a remarkable film for the period as it deals with heroin addiction, marijuana as a gateway drug, prostitution, a gang-rape initiation, armed robbery and murder. All-packed into a swiftly paced 63 minutes!
In the film’s opening sequence a quartet of young women beat senseless a motorist and steal his car, which they deliver to “Joe” (Timothy Farrell — Glen or Glenda, Dance Hall Racket, etc.), who runs girls, drugs and stolen cars.
His immediate goal is to get his latest “girlfriend” — June (Joanne Arnold) — hooked on “H,” and insists that “Doc” (Harry Keaton), a physician who has had his license revoked, show her how it is done. He refuses, but soon she is high as a kite anyway … and so too is Joe’s partner, Jack (Lou Monson), who has quickly turned the stolen car into a pile of cash.
Into this den of thieves comes a rich high school girl by the name of Wanda (Mary Lou O'Connor), who is slumming, but she is quickly introduced to drugs and then gang-raped by Joe’s minions. The drugs and “initiation” make Wanda a member in good standing in Joe’s “girl gang,” so a gas station stick-up is planned, but it goes south and poor Wanda doesn’t survive the night!
Wow, if ever there ever was an exploitation film that screamed “drugs are bad,” this is it … Girl Gang, would make a perfect double-bill with Reefer Madness!
Rounding out the June 13 selection of new film restorations heading to the DVD are Chinese Mack, Gorilla Ship (1932, starring Ralph Ince as Captain “Gorilla” Larsen and Vera Reynolds as a woman he rescues at sea) and The Gunman From Bodie (1941, directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and starring “Rough Riders” Buck Jones, Tim McCoy and Raymond Hatton).