Kirby Grant and Chinook Adventure Triple Feature Volume 2 was recently released by Warner Archive, and it contains three movies on one DVD.
Although I’d never seen a film starring Kirby Grant (TV’s Sky King) or Chinook the wonder dog, my interests were peaked due to the feature The Wolf Hunters, which was directed by Oscar “Budd” Boetticher (he didn’t use the moniker Budd until 1951’s Bullfighter and the Lady).
Although he was one of the more talented visualists in his day, Boetticher never graduated beyond B-movie Westerns, and it’s only years later when his films, which include the Randolph Scott classics Ride Lonesome and Seven Men from Now, would receive their rightful due.
The Wolf Hunters, clocking in at a lean 70 minutes, has Mountie Cpl. Rod Webb (Grant) and Chinook tracking down a fur thief whose motivations may go beyond pure, material greed. Like much of of Boetticher’s work, it’s a low budget affair that he shot while working with Monogram pictures, but it’s still a beautifully shot feature filled with indelible imagery.
There’s also some unexpected touches that I didn’t expect from the project, which includes light comedic work between co-stars Edwin Norris and Jan Clayton (they play a loving couple whose lives are threatened by the criminal and his henchman). Since Grant has a musical background, one lovely sequences features a duet between him and Clayton, and it’s a number that Boetticher seamlessly fits into the story.
Chinook the wonder dog also gets his time to shine as he goes a couple of rounds with a knife wielding thug. The ending, which has the mountie and Chinook chasing the criminal down a shadowed forest, is also a sight to behold. It’s a solid outing all around for Boetticher, and the other two Chinook films in the collection are Snow Dog and Call of the Klondike.
Unfortunately, Warner Archive didn’t upload a clip from The Wolf Hunters on their YouTube Channel, but here’s a clip of Snow Dog.
Kirby Grant and Chinook Adventure Triple Feature Volume 2 is an MOD (Manufactured on Demand) title, to order this DVD go to The Warner Archive Collection.