McCord's gang robs the stage carrying money to pay Indians for their land, and the notorious outlaw "The Oklahoma Kid" Jim Kincaid takes the money from McCord. McCord stakes a "sooner" ...
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McCord's gang robs the stage carrying money to pay Indians for their land, and the notorious outlaw "The Oklahoma Kid" Jim Kincaid takes the money from McCord. McCord stakes a "sooner" claim on land which is to be used for a new town; in exchange for giving it up he gets control of gambling and saloons. When Kincaid's father runs for mayor, McCord incites a mob to lynch the old man whom McCord has already framed for murder.. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
When Warner decided to throw James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart into a Western it got headlines in 1939 and it continues to do so today among film buffs. The idea of Cagney and Bogart in a Western will always draw new people to this film but it's a shame the headlines have gotten in the way of the fact that this is an extremely good movie. The film takes place as Oklahoma is giving away free land where a father (Hugh Sothern) and son (Harvey Stephens) plans on building a city that can do good. Unfortunately for them a bad guy (Bogart) ends up getting is hands on the territory and soon the new city is full of gambling and murder. When the father is falsely accused of murder and a mob kills him, his secret son known as The Oklahoma Kid (Cagney) shows up to seek vengeance against the bad guys. The Western genre was full of revenge films even by 1939 but this one here comes off incredibly fresh for many reasons but the main one is that the movie is rather dark and doesn't pull any punches. I really think this is one of the most underrated and overlooked films from Hollywood's Golden Era and again I think the main reason is because of the two legends in a genre they aren't known for. Yes, it does take a couple minutes to get use to seeing them but after that they sink into their roles so perfectly that you'll forget who you're watching and really get sucked up in the story. I think the second half of the film works extremely well because of how dark it is and because the high drama is on full impact due to some strong direction by Bacon. The mob/hanging scene is perfectly done and there's an even better sequence with Cagney stalking one of the killers through the desert. All of this leads up to a very satisfying ending that packs a nice little punch. You'd never know Cagney wasn't a Western star by seeing him here because he's so terrific in the part. Yes, he doesn't go all out with a country voice but that doesn't matter because I enjoyed how low key he played the part instead of his normal fast-talking. I thought he was very menacing here by not saying too many words and I thought you could believe his character at every step through the picture. Bogart is also very good and extremely cold in his role. Apparently he and Cagney didn't get along too well here due to a comment Bogart made but that bitterness certainly carries over to the film and helps. Rosemary Lane is good as the love interest and Donald Crisp gets a lot of good scenes as the honest Judge. All in all, this is a very impressive little gem that continues to get new viewers but I think it's should be better known as a good film instead of just a film with two stars you wouldn't expect.
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