Two drifters are passing through a Western town, when news comes in that a local farmer has been murdered and his cattle stolen. The townspeople, joined by the drifters, form a posse to catch the perpetrators. They find three men in possession of the cattle, and are determined to see justice done on the spot. Written by
David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>
Henry Fonda was generally unhappy with the quality of the films he had to do while under contract with 20th Century Fox. This was one of only two films from that period that he was actually enthusiastic about starring in. The other was The Grapes of Wrath (1940). See more »
During opening sequences when Fonda is at the bar, the whiskey he is drinking changes from clear to dark. See more »
[Gil lights a cigarette during the posse's night in the woods]
Put out that light you fool. You wanna give us away?
Chuck that butt or I'll plug you.
Start somethin'. For every hole you make, I'll make two.
[when eight other men promptly light up]
Looks like you gonna have a lot of shootin' to do, Mr. Farnley.
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At the end of the credits an ad for U.S. war savings bonds is shown on the screen. It says that "15,000 movie theatres are now selling U.S. war savings stamps and bonds! Buy yours in this theatre." See more »
"The Ox-Bow Incident" is a film that parallels the times we are living in many ways. Darryl Zanuck probably didn't even think much of this project that has proved to be a film admired by a lot of people that find in it, something that resonates with them.
William Wellman, the director, made an excellent film out of the adaptation by Lamar Trotti, of the Walter van Tilburg Clark's novel. The film, only 75 minutes long, packs a lot in a short period, something that other films, twice as long, fail to deliver. Arthur C. Miller's cinematography is an asset for the picture.
This film brought to mind another Henry Fonda film: "12 Angry Men", in which a more or less posse is trying to decide the fate of a young man accused of committing a heinous crime. In this film, we get a similar idea, in that the mob group that is formed will end up bringing the wrong kind of justice to the three unfortunate men that are deemed guilty and will be lynched; for all practical purposes these men would be proved innocent in a real court of justice.
Henry Fonda does an excellent job as Gil Carter. The biggest surprise though is the then unknown Dana Andrews, one of the men that is made to pay for a crime he didn't commit. Also, this is an early film in which Anthony Quinn appeared as one of the doomed men. The director got marvelous acting in general from the supporting cast, notably, Frank Conroy, William Eythe, Jane Darwell and Mary Beth Hughes.
This is a classic film to be treasured.
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