Written and Posted by Sarah
Dan Duryea appeared in a lot of westerns during his 20-plus year career in Hollywood, but Black Bart was only the second time he appeared as a cowboy. Audiences had seen him (three years earlier) as the outlaw, Monte Jarrad, in Along Came Jones, but the role was relatively minor. Viewers got a chance to see Duryea play the title role in Black Bart. The film is based on a real-life stage robber, Charles E. Boles, but there isn't too much similarity between the film and history.
Dan's partners are played by Jeffrey Lynn and Percy Kilbride (of Ma and Pa Kettle fame!). The love interest is supplied by Yvonne De Carlo. The film is narrated by Percy Kilbride. He recounts the days of his partnership with Duryea and Lynn. This film has not been released on home video, as far as I can find out, so I haven't seen this one. All info here comes from reading reviews and comments from other people who have managed to see this film on TV. If you'd like to read TCM's blow-by-blow synopsis, just CLICK HERE.
Having read through a lot of reviews, it is interesting to note the varied reactions to this film. The Technicolor cinematography always rates 5 Stars. If you're a Dan Duryea fan, then it's worth watching. Quite a few reviewers found his performance rather bland and uninspired, but they most often admit that they don't know Dan's style. All reviews by people who are Duryea fans (or at least know who he is) say that he does a good job in the role. It's a bit of a strange Western for the period, since there is no real "hero". A decade or two later would find a lot of these "outlaw" pictures, but in 1948 it was not the average plot. Justice is demanded at the end, and both Duryea and Lynn pay for their crimes.