splash  This page presents an annotated, worldwide bibliography of reviews, articles and other published material related to the 1936 film Empty Saddles (link to LBS filmography page). This American film includes Louise Brooks in the role of Boots Boone. Under its American title, documented screenings of the film took place in Canada, England, Jamaica, and Netherlands Antilles. Elsewhere, this motion picture was known to have been shown under other-language titles including O Rancho das Feitiçarias (Brazil); Prázd né sedlo (Czechoslovakia); Vyprázdnit sedla (Czechoslovakia); Cowboyens hvilehjem (Denmark); Puste siodła (Poland); and De tomma sadlarnas hus (Sweden).

As research is ongoing, this page is a work in progress. It is understood that any given citation comes from an American source, unless otherwise noted. The intention of this bibliography is to be both comprehensive and useful. Most citations represent a substantial review or article. Capsule reviews, or significant shorter pieces — usually a paragraph or two in length — are so noted. Entries are arranged chronologically. Critical commentary regarding Brooks, or the film as a whole (excerpted from the material cited) is given as annotations. Some citations link to the material noted: some of these links reside on the Louise Brooks Society, while others reside elsewhere on the web.

Much can be gleamed from a bibliography such as this. Besides what critics thought of the film, one can follow the path of the film’s distribution — where it showed and when; sometimes, for example, the exhibition record might reveal if the film was shown before its official release date. As well, this bibliography shows which critics at which newspapers and magazines reviewed films. History, here, is in the details.

An * indicates that a copy of this citation is held in the archives of the LBS. This annotated bibliography has been compiled by Thomas Gladysz, and was last updated in October 2015. [Help wanted: If you know of additional citations, can provide further information on entries noted on this page, or can provide copies of citations not marked with an * but which are known to exist, please contact the LBS. The LBS would like to acquire additional material on the screening of this film.]

EMPTY SADDLES
released December 20, 1936

Scheuer, Philip K. “Carole Lombard, Cary Grant Planning Paris Adventure.” Los Angeles Times, August 31, 1936. *
— mentions Brooks will appear in Empty Saddles, in film column in Los Angeles, California newspaper

Sutherland, Henry. “Motion Picture Marriage Market Is Today’s Theme.” Nevada State Journal, September 1, 1936. *
— “Louise Brooks, who turned up her nose at a Paramount film contract to play on Broadway several years ago, is back in pictures. She has just signed with Buck Jones to play the feminine lead in his new sage-brush epic, Empty Saddles.” – instance of mention in syndicated (United Press) film column in Reno, Nevada newspaper

anonymous. “News of the Screen.” New York Times, September 3, 1936. *
— “The same studio reports that Louise Brooks, recently returned from a European stage tour, will attempt a screen comeback opposite Buck Jones Empty Saddles.” – mention in article in New York City newspaper

author unknown. Daily Variety, October 14, 1936. (United States)
— “The yarn has plenty of suspense, numerous spooky situations, a good love theme and enough of the western touch to top a western dualer or fill out the action requirements of a mixed bill and leave the cash customers well satisfied.”

author unknown. Hollywood Reporter, October 14, 1936. (United States)
— “This Buck Jones Western must be set below par because of a rambling and cluttery story that is almost menaceless until the last reel or two and then, in the final chase and battle, is confusing and inconclusive.”

anonymous. “Reviews of the New Films.” Film Daily, October 17, 1936. *
— capsule review; “a hard riding, straight-shooting western…. Louise Brooks has quite a dramatic role as the heroine, which she handles very well.”

author unknown. Motion Picture Daily, October 19, 1936. (United States)
— page 7

author unknown. Box Office, October 24, 1936. (United States)
— “Several new angles and Buck Jones’ usual capable performance as a hard-riding, square shooting son of the saddle makes this an above par offering in the Western class.”

M., G. “Showmen’s Reviews.” Motion Picture Herald, October 24, 1936. *
— review in trade journal

anonymous. “Empty Saddles (Universal).” Selected Motion Pictures, November 1, 1936. *
— capsule review; “A somewhat unusual western story, packed with excitement, fast-paced dramatic action, mystery and superb riding.” – publication of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America

author unknown. Philadelphia Exhibitor, November 1, 1936.
— “With most of the punch at the end, Jones fans, however, should be satisfied.”

author unknown. National Legion of Decency, November 5, 1936.
— “General patronage.”

anonymous. “Coming Soon.” Hartford Courant, November 22, 1936. *
— article in Hartford, Connecticut newspaper

anonymous. “Coming Soon.” Sheboygan Press, November 20, 1936. *
— article in Sheboygan, Wisconsin newspaper

East Coast Preview Committee. Fox West Coast Bulletin, November 21, 1936.
— “A somewhat unusual western story, packed with excitement, fast-paced dramatic action, mystery and superb riding . . . . The natural scenic effects are of exceptionally high quality.”

author unknown. “Buck Jones Out on Location.” Hollywood, December, 1936.
— article on the making of Empty Saddles with four images, two of which include Brooks

anonymous. “State Previews.” Kingsport Times, December 20, 1936. *
— article in Kingsport, Tennessee newspaper

S., H. E. “Buck Jones Star in Fast Western.” Winnipeg Free Press, December 28, 1936. (Canada) *
— review in Winnipeg, Manitoba newspaper

anonymous. “At the Theaters.” Monessen Daily Independent, December 30, 1936. *
— “Of outstanding interest is the fact that the picture marks the return to the screen of lovely Louise Brooks, the Ziegfeld Follies girl who won film fame and then quit pictures at the height of her career. Her brunette beauty and her fine acting making her a splendid leading lady.” – article in Monessen, Pennsylvania newspaper

anonymous. “Family Movie Guide.” Parents Magazine, January, 1937. *
— capsule review

author unknown. Monthly Film Bulletin, January, 1937. (England)
— review

anonymous. “Antlers Today.” Helena Independent, January 8, 1937. *
— “Tomorrow and Saturday the Antlers will present Buck Jones in another red-blooded action picture, Empty Saddles, with Louise Brooks, Harvey Clark and Gertrude Astor. Buck joins a dude ranch in following a clue and upsets the entire county before he rights a wrong.” – brief mention in small article in Helena, Montana newspaper

anonymous. “Buck Jones Arrives.” Zanesville Signal, January 14, 1937. *
— brief article in Zanesville, Ohio newspaper

anonymous. “Empty Saddles.” Moberly Monitor-Index, January 16, 1937. *
— article in Moberly, Missouri newspaper

anonymous. “Buck Jones in Dare-Devil Role.” Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, January 16, 1937. *
— article in Muscatine, Iowa newspaper

anonymous. “City Opera House.” News, January 16, 1937. *
— brief article in Frederick, Maryland newspaper

anonymous. “Buck Jones in Empty saddles at Orpheum Theater Saturday.” Hammond Times, January 22, 1937. *
— article in Hammond, Indiana newspaper

anonymous. “Buck Jones Plays at State Theater.” San Antonio Light, January 22, 1937. *
— article in San Antonio, Texas newspaper

anonymous. “Empty Saddles on State Theater Bill.” San Antonio Light, January 24, 1937. *
— article in San Antonio, Texas newspaper

anonymous. “Buck Jones.” Evening Huronite, January 24, 1937. *
— short article in Huron, South Dakota newspaper

author unknown. Kine Weekly, January 28, 1937. (England)

author unknown. January 31, 1937.
— review of screening at Arena Theatre in New York City

Wear. “Empty Saddles.” Variety, February 3, 1937. *
— “Louise Brooks, cast as a poor trader’s child, is not flattered by the camera, but does a good bit of acting. She is the outstanding femme player in the slight romance.”

anonymous. “Buck Jones in Exciting Role In Picture At Lyric.” Big Spring Daily Herald, April 2, 1937. *
— captioned photo in Big Spring, Texas newspaper

anonymous. “At the Grand.” Circleville Herald, April 15, 1937. *
— “Do You remember Louise Brooks? She is the lovely brunette whose beauty carried her from the Ziegfeld Follies to screen stardom. Well, she has returned to the screen. She Is back in pictures again as Buck Jones’ leading lady in Empty Saddles, the Universal outdoor adventure film at the Grand Theatre. The actress is the same shapely Louise Brooks. The only change in her is that she is wearing her hair with a new style of dress.” – brief article in Circleville, Ohio newspaper

anonymous. “Tell Him He Can’t and He Will Do It.” Denton Journal, April 17, 1937. *
— brief article in Denton, Maryland newspaper

anonymous. “Double Feature Program Tonight at Forsythe Empty Saddles Sunday Monday.” Hammond Times, April 24, 1937. *
— captioned photo in Hammond, Indiana newspaper

anonymous. “At the Theaters.” Heraldo de Brownsville, May 20, 1937. *
— brief article in Brownsville, Texas newspaper

anonymous. “Thursday to Saturday.” Oelwein Daily Register, May 29, 1937. *
— article in Oelwein, Iowa newspaper

anonymous. “Avalon Program for Coming Week.” The Journal and Republican, June 17, 1937. *
— brief front page article in Lowville, New York newspaper

anonymous. “At the American.” Hammond Times, June 21, 1937. *
— brief article in Hammond, Indiana newspaper

Everson, William K. “Film Notes – Empty Saddles.” Pacific Film Archive, August 14, 1982. *
— brief program notes from the PFA Film Series “William K. Everson Presents: Peter Pan & Lulu at the End of the Trail– Louise Brooks & Betty Bronson in ‘B’ Westerns!” (follow this link to access text)

Blau, Eleanor. “Weekender Guide.” New York Times, October 22, 1982. *
— brief mention of screening in New York City newspaper

Rainey, Buck. The Life and Films of Buck Jones: The Sound Era. Waynesville, North Carolina: The World of Yesterday, 1991. *
— includes a section on the film, as well as a handful of references and pictures of Brooks

anonymous. “Empty Saddles.” TV Guide Online, circa 2001. *
— capsule review on entertainment website; “Notable as one of the few talkie appearances of Louise Brooks, an idol of film cultists when her early silent films were rediscovered in the mid-1950s.”