Tim Holt Western Classics (Warner Archive, $39.95)

tim_holtWarner Bros. has issued the first of what I hope will be several Tim Holt collections. This five-disc, 10-movie set shows Holt at the beginning of what became a popular string of Westerns. Holt’s later pictures were better than many in this collection, but the first two movies here, The Renegade Ranger and The Law West of Tombstone (both 1938), are worth talking about. The first, because it showed how easily Holt could work his way out from under the star, George O’Brien, and because it featured a very young, and stunning, Rita Hayworth.

The second is an oddball Western, and not everybody’s cup of tea, but I can’t help wishing more films were like it. It stars Harry Carey as Bill Barker, a variation on Judge Roy Bean, who is trying to hustle grubstake money from a millionaire in Manhattan. Holt plays the Tonto Kid, a good-bad guy who nearly matches Barker in charm. Their good-natured jostling throughout the picture is priceless. Watch for a great bit with Ward Bond as a Mexican-Irish boxer who (deliberately) can’t keep his accents straight.