Along Came Jones
Time Out saysProduced by Cooper himself, this comedy Western typecasts him as a mild-mannered wandering cowboy, given to bursts of song and hopelessly butter-fingered with a gun, who is mistaken for a dangerous outlaw (Duryea). Tickled by the respect that now attends him, Cooper soon finds himself in trouble, being manipulated by Duryea's childhood sweetheart (Young) until she has a change of heart, while assorted people try to kill him, bring him to justice, or beat him up in the hope of hijacking his loot. Scripted by Nunnally Johnson from a novel by Alan LeMay, the film demonstrates Johnson's belief that the writer is the auteur in cinema (the title even announces 'Nunnally Johnson's Along Came Jones'). Alas for illusions, but Stuart Heisler is clearly hamstrung by having to adhere to a muddled script which cries out for pruning, with more visualisation and less verbiage. The three stars do their thing adequately, but their supposed emotional cross-purposes come to grief on the strictly two-dimensional characterisations. Frequent resort to back-projected landscapes doesn't help, either.