Wayne's Western Weston
With a surprising number of rodeo riders being killed the Marshal hires John Weston (John Wayne - Blue Steel) to go under cover to try and find out who is behind the murders. With John entering the rodeo and having a decent chance of winning Spike Barton (Edward Peil Sr.) attempts to arrange for the same fate to befall John as it did the other dead riders as he has a poisoned needle hidden under John's saddle.
Okay so first things first and "The Man from Utah" has one of the most amusing openings going as we watch a young John Wayne riding into town, playing his guitar as he rides and singing. Nope it isn't John Wayne's voice you can hear but to my memory I have never seen The Duke do the wandering minstrel sort of thing in any other movie.
Aside from the amusing opening it also has to be said that unlike many of these other LoneStar Pictures from the early 1930's this one has held up better than others when it comes to image quality. With many of these movies available to watch free online because they have fallen into public domain the quality is often poor but here the image quality is surprisingly sharp. The audio quality is surprisingly good as well and I am not on about the version which has had modern music put over it but the original with the voices clear and easy to understand.
I suppose I should get to the story and the acting but in many ways what you got in one LoneStar Picture you got in another. As such whilst we have the original idea of John Wayne playing a man hired to go undercover and become a rodeo rider what actually happens is pretty ordinary with Wayne getting the bad guys before the hours up and getting the girl as was the custom in these movies. And like with other LoneStar Pictures we have the same crowd of actors so alongside John Wayne there is Yakima Canutt and George 'Gabby' Hayes.
One thing which is worth mentioning is that whilst the image quality is superior to many of these earlier westerns much of the action is shot from distance in order to hide the stunt double standing in for actors. So from scenes of John riding a horse down a cliff to the actual rodeo you are never taken near enough the action to see who is riding the horse.
What this all boils down to is that "The Man from Utah" is a typical but enjoyable John Wayne western from his LoneStar Pictures period. It isn't the greatest of westerns but it is one which visually has held up better than many of the others.