Film Review and Rating / Synopsis

(Please note the films reviewed on this site contain plot summaries and may contain SPOILERS.)

  • Just Pals (1920) - Plot Summary - Silent romance/adventure tale set in a small town on the border between Wyoming and Nebraska. Handsome but poorly dressed Bim (Buck Jones) is called by some the "town bum" - he's rather lazy, won't work, and is described as the "idol of the youths, bane of the elders" in this village. Bim loves from afar the pretty village school teacher, Mary (Helen Ferguson) - but he has a rival in the form of smartly dressed town cashier, Harvey. When Bim defends a poor runaway "hobo" boy who has been thrown off the train, Mary takes her first notice of Bim. Bim befriends the boy, Bill, and soon Bim has a new sidekick - Bim and Bill are pals! The town bitties make sure little Bill is sent to school and Bim wants to get a job so he can meet his new obligations towards raising the boy - he's told if he can get a uniform he can be a porter. Troubles for Bim, Bill, and Mary too are soon to come. Mary's main man Harvey pushes her into loaning him the school's "memorial fund" (creep), the boy is hurt after a fall from a moving train trying to get Bim that uniform (and ends up under the care of a shady doctor and his wife who seek a reward for the boy, and much to the kid's distress, dress him up in a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit!), and Bim gets mixed up with some desperadoes who want to rob the town safe.

    Review - Directed by John Ford (Jack Ford in the credits of this), the DVD I saw of this is part of the Ford at Fox Collection and featured a nice looking black and white print and well done orchestral score composed by Jonathan and Alexander Kaplan that I thought fit the flavor of this film very well. I enjoyed the interaction of the characters in the film, especially the "two peas in a pod" relationship between Bim and the boy I thought was very well done (the young actor who plays Bill does a nice, engaging job here) - but I did think the story kind of broke down in the big action sequences in the later part of the film, which were a bit rambling and moving too fast. Nicely photographed with lots of outdoor scenes and tree shaded small town sidewalks. Why is the town bum named, of all things, "Bim" I was thinking (hehe). Entertaining enough for it's under an hour length. (The alternate/working title of this film was "Bimbo"!) Rating - * 7.5/10 stars *

    Director: John Ford
    Film Genre: Western / Romantic Melodrama
    Film Runtime: 50 minutes

Links / Resources


10 = Absolutely Fabulous/Superb
9 = Really Good/Excellent
8 = Good
7 = Fairly Good/Decent
6 = So-so, some flaws
5 = Mediocre
4 = Not that good, many flaws
3 = Poor
2 = Very Poor/Stinker
1 = One of the worst BOMBS ever filmed

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