Billy the Kid Returns (1938)

53, 56 or 58 mins | Western | 4 September 1938

Director:

Joseph I. Kane

Writer:

Jack Natteford

Cinematographer:

Ernest Miller

Editor:

Lester Orlebeck

Production Company:

Republic Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

Var credits Vern (Tim) Miller with some of the songs, but FDYB and MPH credit Vern Spencer instead of Miller. An Aug 1938 letter from Republic studios in the AMPAS library file on the film stated that Lynn Roberts would henceforth be known as Mary Hart and that all documentation on the film should reflect her new name. Although the picture itself bills the actress as Hart, most reviews credit her as Roberts. In an introduction to this film for a 1987 television program, Roy Rogers said that a studio executive thought that changing Roberts' name would result in a publicity boost when theater marquees displayed "Rogers and Hart" above the title, capitalizing on the fame of popular composers Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Because the actress changed her name back to Lynn Roberts some time later, reviews and modern sources frequently confuse the names when crediting her work during the late 1930s. A news item in HR prior to the film's production noted that this would be Kane's first film as director and associate producer under Ford, however, no other source lists Kane as anything other than director. A pre-release production chart in HR lists the following additional cast members: Betty Rodman, Art Dillard, Betty Jean Hainey, Patsy Lee Parsons, Rudy Sooter, Jack Kirk , Al Taylor and Ray Nichols. Modern sources include actor George Montgomery in the cast, indicating that he was then acting under his real name, George Letz . Other actors included in modern sources are Dorothy Vaughn , Fank O'Connor, Bob Card, Jim Corey, Lloyd Ingraham, Bob McKenzie, Oscar Gahan, Fred Burns, Ralph Dunn ... More Less

Var credits Vern (Tim) Miller with some of the songs, but FDYB and MPH credit Vern Spencer instead of Miller. An Aug 1938 letter from Republic studios in the AMPAS library file on the film stated that Lynn Roberts would henceforth be known as Mary Hart and that all documentation on the film should reflect her new name. Although the picture itself bills the actress as Hart, most reviews credit her as Roberts. In an introduction to this film for a 1987 television program, Roy Rogers said that a studio executive thought that changing Roberts' name would result in a publicity boost when theater marquees displayed "Rogers and Hart" above the title, capitalizing on the fame of popular composers Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Because the actress changed her name back to Lynn Roberts some time later, reviews and modern sources frequently confuse the names when crediting her work during the late 1930s. A news item in HR prior to the film's production noted that this would be Kane's first film as director and associate producer under Ford, however, no other source lists Kane as anything other than director. A pre-release production chart in HR lists the following additional cast members: Betty Rodman, Art Dillard, Betty Jean Hainey, Patsy Lee Parsons, Rudy Sooter, Jack Kirk , Al Taylor and Ray Nichols. Modern sources include actor George Montgomery in the cast, indicating that he was then acting under his real name, George Letz . Other actors included in modern sources are Dorothy Vaughn , Fank O'Connor, Bob Card, Jim Corey, Lloyd Ingraham, Bob McKenzie, Oscar Gahan, Fred Burns, Ralph Dunn and Rogers' horse Trigger. The historical figures of William H. Bonney, known as "Billy the Kid," and Pat Garrett have been used as characters in many films and television programs, among them M-G-M's Billy the Kid directed by King Vidor in 1930 and starring Johnny Mack Brown and Wallace Beery (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.0419), a 1941 M-G-M film of the same title starring Robert Taylor and Brian Donlevy, directed by David Miller, and a 1973 M-G-M production, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid , directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson. Aaron Copeland's ballet Billy the Kid was written in 1938, but not performed until 1939. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Sep 1938.
---
Daily Variety
26 Aug 38
p. 3.
Film Daily
16 Sep 38
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 38
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 38
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Aug 38
p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily
23 Sep 38
p. 12.
Motion Picture Herald
24 Sep 38
p. 43.
Variety
21 Sep 38
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITER
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus dir
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Unit mgr
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Dixie Instrument Song," "The Man in the Moon Is a Cowboy," "Parade Song" and "Sing a Little Song About Anything," words and music by Smiley Burnette and Eddie Cherkose
"Trail Blazin'" and "Born to the Saddle," words and music by Eddie Cherkose
"When Sun Is Setting on the Prairie," words and music by Eddie Cherkose and Alberto Colombo
+
SONGS
"The Dixie Instrument Song," "The Man in the Moon Is a Cowboy," "Parade Song" and "Sing a Little Song About Anything," words and music by Smiley Burnette and Eddie Cherkose
"Trail Blazin'" and "Born to the Saddle," words and music by Eddie Cherkose
"When Sun Is Setting on the Prairie," words and music by Eddie Cherkose and Alberto Colombo
"When I Camped Under the Stars," words and music by Vern "Tim" Spencer.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
4 September 1938
Production Date:
29 Jul--early Aug 1938
Copyright Claimant:
Republic Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
4 September 1938
Copyright Number:
LP8297
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor "High Fidelity" Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
53, 56 or 58
Length(in feet):
5,051
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
4547
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Billy the Kid is revered by homesteaders for his help, even though he has become a thief and a murderer. After he escapes from a shootout with lawmen and is recaptured by his former friend, Sheriff Pat Garrett, Garrett is forced to kill him rather than let him escape again. Meanwhile, Roy Rogers, who bears a strikling resemblance to Billy, helps a wagon train of new "nesters," as the homesteaders are called, from attacks by the ranchers. Although Garrett is suspicious of Rogers, Sheriff Conway convinces him that Roy's resemblance to Billy can work to their advantage. Roy is secretly deputized to pose as Billy, and helps the nesters, while remaining loyal to Garrett. When rancher and town boss Morganson and his henchman Matson plan to steal money from honest merchant Danny O'Moore, Roy overhears and takes the money first, making Garrett, Moore and his daughter Ellen think that he has been deceiving them. With his own cunning and the help of his childhood friend Fran "Frog" Milhouse, though, Roy defeats Morganson and his gang, returns the money, and wins the respect of the entire town. Now convinced of his honesty, Garrett willingly accepts Roy as his deputy, and Moore accepts him as a future ... +


Billy the Kid is revered by homesteaders for his help, even though he has become a thief and a murderer. After he escapes from a shootout with lawmen and is recaptured by his former friend, Sheriff Pat Garrett, Garrett is forced to kill him rather than let him escape again. Meanwhile, Roy Rogers, who bears a strikling resemblance to Billy, helps a wagon train of new "nesters," as the homesteaders are called, from attacks by the ranchers. Although Garrett is suspicious of Rogers, Sheriff Conway convinces him that Roy's resemblance to Billy can work to their advantage. Roy is secretly deputized to pose as Billy, and helps the nesters, while remaining loyal to Garrett. When rancher and town boss Morganson and his henchman Matson plan to steal money from honest merchant Danny O'Moore, Roy overhears and takes the money first, making Garrett, Moore and his daughter Ellen think that he has been deceiving them. With his own cunning and the help of his childhood friend Fran "Frog" Milhouse, though, Roy defeats Morganson and his gang, returns the money, and wins the respect of the entire town. Now convinced of his honesty, Garrett willingly accepts Roy as his deputy, and Moore accepts him as a future son-in-law. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
with songs


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.