Here are four Poverty Row movies on two discs, all from B-Western specialists, Syndicate Pictures:
CALL OF THE DESERT (1930) Tom Tyler, Bud Osborne, Cliff Lyons, Sheila LeGay. This silent rarity features a novel setting as Tom and Bud drift across a snow-covered desert. Tom carries a map to his pappy’s gold stake. He of course is dry-gulched by Bud, who steals the map and leaves Tom die. Tom is rescued though, and later awakens in the care of a beautiful girl who just happens to be...you guessed it...Bud’s niece. What’s a poor country girl to do? Music score.
PHANTOM OF THE DESERT (1930) Jack Perrin, Eve Novak, Ben Corbett. Horses are being mysteriously stolen by a stallion known as the “phantom of the desert.” Jack figures out it’s a two-legged creature behind the thefts. A good early talkie even if the horse effects are hilarious.
UNDER TEXAS SKIES (1930) Bob Custer, Bill Cody, Lane Chandler, Tom London. A bizarre western that’s in the Forgotten Horrors book. Lane, Bob, and Bill play three cowboys out to foil London’s efforts to defraud an orphan of her money. Featured is an ape-like, mute giant who viciously beats up Cody and keeps him captive in an old cabin. The creature’s scenes are shot with a horrific lighting style to add to his menace. Beautifully photographed with many shots of real wild horses.
A RIDER OF THE PLAINS (1931) Tom Tyler, Andy Shuford, Lillian Bond, Ted Adams. A fine B western. A hard-edged shootist—with many notches on his gun—hits town with his pal, a tough young boy. He falls for a local gal, but is spurned because of his bloody reputation. Later, a minister takes the boy from the gunman to find him an honest home. In a memorable scene, he blocks the way when the gunman tries to take the boy out of his custody. The gunman is overcome by rage, and—in what may be the best acted scene of Tom Tyler’s career—he throttles the minister, still unable though, to force him into submission.