THE SOMBRERO KID. Republic Pictures, 1942. Don ‘Red’ Barry, Lynn Merrick, Robert Homans, John James, Joel Friedkin, Rand Brooks, Stuart Hamblen. Director: George Sherman.

   Despite being short — 5′ 4½”, according to IMDb — and not looking much like a cowboy hero, nor having a wide range as an actor, Don Barry had a presence about him on the screen that you could never manage to create if it weren’t there. But Barry managed to alienate himself from directors and other cast members, or so I’m told, and his career never got much higher than making B-westerns such as this one. [But see comments.]

   Which, in spite of its running time of less than 60 minutes, is actually quite good, as far as low budget westerns from the early 40s go. There is enough plot in this one to be half again as long. I won’t go overly much into details, but it has to do with a marshal and his two sons, one of whom learns an unfortunate fact about himself as the three of them come to town to rid it of a persistent outlaw.

   There is a girl that both sons find attractive, a villainous town banker, and a humorous hidey-hole than men of the town use to make their escape from a backroom card game when their wives come looking for them. And, yes, it also comes into play when the lead starts flying.

   The title of the movie is something of a mystery. Apparently one of the sons, the one Don Barry plays, looks like a notorious outlaw called the Sombrero Kid — but isn’t him.