The Bronze Buckaroo (1939)

Herb Jeffries, Lucius Brooks, Artie Young, F.E. Miller,
Cowboy Bob Blake (Herbert Jeffries) and four friends ride to Arizona to help Betty Jackson (Artie Young), the sister of Bob's friend, Joe (Rollie Hardin), who has gone missing.
  • 4.9 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Richard C. Kahn, Director:
  • Producer:
7 / 10

Fair Western

The Bronze Buckaroo (1939)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Bob Blake (Herb Jeffries) and his gang show up at their friends ranch and learn that he is missing. The man's sister gives them a few clues so they head out to try and locate their friend and before long they realize that the crooked Pete (Spencer Williams) had something to do with it.

THE BRONZE BUCKAROO will be of main interest to fans of the early "race" movies that were popular among black crowds back in the day. These movies were made to show in black theaters where directors and producers felt they could reach a select audience. These films were usually copies of something more popular and made with very small budgets.

This film here is a pretty standard Western as the story itself had been seen dozens if not hundreds of times already. Of course, a piece of property is behind everything going on and the film basically takes us through the numbers as we get a few bar fights, some horse races and of course an eventual showdown between the hero and villain.

The main draw here is getting to see Williams play a bad guy and for the most part he's good. I thought Jeffries was good in the lead role as well. At just under a hour this is a decent watch but just don't expect anything too ground-breaking.

2 / 10

Mildy interesting, it's still a bad film.

Back in the old days, movie theaters in the United States were often segregated or blacks had to go to different movie houses to see films. Not surprisingly, this led to black entrepreneurs deciding to make their own films--with black casts and film crew. Unfortunately, these films were plagued by horribly small budgets. Plus, many of these people simply weren't professionals...and in "The Bronze Buckaroo" it shows. Despite a decent performance by Herb Jeffries, the movie has so many strikes against it, today it's mostly of historical interest.

The film begins with Bob Blake (Jeffries) and his friends heading to the ranch of a friend, Joe Jackson. However, when they arrive, they learn from Jackson's sister that he's been missing for weeks. Soon, when some local thugs (led by Spencer Williams*) begin trying to stir up trouble, it's pretty certain these jerks are behind it. But who would kidnap Jackson and why? Well, it's up to Blake to handle it--pretty much by himself. In fact, in one rather dumb scene, he enters the headquarters of these guys and takes them on all by himself. Fortunately for realism sake, they soon beat the tar out of him! So is there anything I enjoyed about the film? Well, some of the comic relief did make me laugh--even though it was incredibly low-brow. One sharpie has learned ventriloquism and has convinced one of Blake's men that his mule can talk! Some might object to this, as it does tend to reinforce the notion of black inferiority to some viewers. Regardless, I laughed. On the other hand, I cannot ignore the terrible acting. Several of the 'actors' really had trouble reciting their lines (such as 'Uncle')--it was almost like watching a 3rd grade pageant, the acting was that bad.

*Williams generally played heavies in the 30s and 40s. However, today he's known as Amos from the "Amos 'n Andy" television show.

4 / 10

The Bronze Buckaroo was an interesting early race western musical

Looking at the remaining list of race movies in the DVD set, "Black Entertainmint in Film", I decided to check out Bronze Buckaroo since it's one of the shortest at 56 min. The plot is a familiar one that dominated many a singing cowboy pic with Buck Thorne (Clarence Brooks) and his henchman Pete (Spencer Williams) hoping to take a ranch from Joe Jackson and his sister Betty (Artie Young) after killing their father. Bob Blake (Herb Jeffries), a friend of Joe, arrives to help find him after he disappears. There's also his sidekick Dusty (Lucius Brooks) along for the ride and a con man named Slim Perkins (F. E. Miller) who provides some amusement with Dusty when he sells him a "talking" mule and plays crooked poker with him. To tell the truth, the movie had some scratches that made it hard to hear some of the dialogue and some of the gun sequences, which is always filmed in medium shot, aren't very exciting. Still, this was pretty entertaining and I loved The Four Tones' (of which Mr. Lucius Brooks was a part of) singing when we first arrived at the bar just before the first shootout. So on that note, The Bronze Buckaroo is worth a look. P.S. The director, Richard C. Kahn, was born in my current home state of Louisiana in New Orleans and the star, Mr. Jeffries, briefly lived in my birth town of Chicago where one of the clubs he performed in was allegedly owned by Al Copone. And as I noted in my comments for The Blood of Jesus, Mr. Williams was born in Vidalia, La.

10 / 10

Excellent Movie!

"Bronze Buckeroo" is an excellent movie! I thoroughly enjoyed the entire casts! Specifically, Herbert Jeffrey! I saw him as a fictional version of Bass Reeves and Antonio Maceo combined. He was smart, articulate and intrepid! A very dashing, handsome protagonist! If you know the story of Bass Reeves, you know that he road a big white horse and carried two guns.

Regarding the great Antonio Maceo, Antonio Maceo was a very dashing and handsome man. He was referred to as " The Bronze Titan.

I also liked the supporting characters. Especially the two guys that were buddies. Both were funny, yet they were not the illiterate, mindless Negroes depicted in many stereotypical movies. There was also a plot and the movie culminated with the objective of that plot. "Bronze Buckeroo" was an excellent movie! See it for yourself!

7 / 10

Low-key fun on the range

Not much of a plot and no suspense, but a genial western with an all-Black cast. Great vaudeville comedy about a talking mule fills in the gaps between a few standard shoot-em-up scenes. Bizarre and wonderful scenes in a bar-room when the entire cast bursts into song. Very inexpensive with wildly uneven acting styles and strangely-staged fist-fights. Amusing but insignificant except as an introduction to suave Black cowboy Herb Jeffries.