Walter Brennan is back with the gang to face corruption in their own home town.
Release Date: 17 November 1970 (USA)
Director: George McCowan
Writer: Richard Carr
Cast: Walter Brennan, Fred Astaire, Edgar Buchanan
One of the great things about television movies is that they usually have a follow up film made to continue with the story. This tradition is something that was very common in the sixties and seventies as producers wanted to take advantage of the new television revolution, old actors, and one of America’s favorite type of film genre; the western.
In 1969, the Over the Hill Gang won wide acclaim and reviews of being a tremendous film for some of the older actors of the time. Jack Elam, Gypsey Rose Lee, Walter Brennan, and Edgar Buchannan were fantastic as they bantered back and forth as they fought for the rights to a town. In the sequel, Over the Hill Gang Rides Again, some of the same actors come back for another round of fighting to save a town from the tyranny of those who would exploit it for their gain.
In the world of sequels, the second rarely outshines the first. In the case of the Over the Hill Gang Rides Again this trend is reversed. A breath of fresh air is given to the movie with the addition of Fred Astaire and Andy Devine. The plot is still relatively the same. The retired Texas Rangers are called back to defend their own home town, but they have to use more brain than brawn to do it. There is also one added project; the rehabilitation of the town drunk. While this could be a distraction, or just a simple act of comedic interjection, it works perfectly with Astaire playing the lush The Baltimore Kid. Walter Brennan is back and Ranger Nash Crawford as well as Chill Wills and Edgar Buchannan. However, it is Fred Astaire as the drunken Baltimore Kid that really steals the show and creates a whimsical feel to the movie.
A new director was brought on board in the form of George McCowan to give it the same type of family sentimentality as he did with The Ballad of Andy Crocker and the great thoughtful action as with The Silent Force. This was a good choice as McCowan kept to the same type of camaraderie among the actors as the previous director had.
Through the events of the television movie, there is also a very lighthearted approach to the process of the getting old. Since the Rangers are retired, they can no longer out draw anyone with their pistols, or strong enough to win in a fist fight, they have to resort to their wits to win the day. From dropping bales of hay onto their enemies, to shooing a bunch of cows through the saloon onto Main Street, they prevail and secure the fortunes of The Baltimore Kid and win back the money that was stolen.
Watching the Over the Hill Gang Rides Again you get a sense of people enjoying their work. A great carry over from the previous movie. For families that are looking for a movie to watch during a rainy day, or family fun night, the Over the Hill Gang Rides Again will provide great laughs and entertainment for several different showings.