A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
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>
Clint Eastwood selected this film as his favorite when polled by the AFI for its publication "Private Screenings." See more »
During opening sequences when Fonda is at the bar, the whiskey he is drinking changes from clear to dark. See more »
I saw your face. It was the face of a depraved, murderous beast. Only two things ever meant anything to you: power and cruelty. You can't feel pity. You can't even feel guilt. You knew they were innocent, but you were crazy to see them hanged. And to make me watch it. I could've stopped you with a gun, just as any other animal can be stopped. But I couldn't do it because I'm a coward. Aren't you glad you made me go? Weren't you proud of me? How does it feel to have begot a weakling, Major? Does...
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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 »
Shall we call this western?This is so moving,so harrowing and so tragic it would be a sacrilege.With a running time of 75 min,William Wellmann's work runs the whole gamut of emotions:hatred,contempt,madness,despair,indifference,you name it.Besides,the script is wonderfully written,depicting with a gutsy realism the supporting characters :the old man,the terrifying shrew,the renegade officer,his coward son -but who 's the real coward in the end?-,the Mexican,all are unforgettable.Between the lines ,there are secret plots which could provide the substance for at least four other movies.
Oddly,star Henry Fonda is nothing but a witness-except for the last sequences -and it's Dana Andrews' extremely harrowing performance which will haunt the viewers -as well as his hangmen- long after the ending.Andrews' portrayal is so moving that he almost outshadows the rest of the stellar cast,not a small feat:a western hero has rarely shown so much despair and dignity and his letter will move you to tears .It's anyway the sequence when he writes it that climaxes the movie,when most of the guys are guzzling or drinking ,with the horrible fat woman 's shrill chuckles as a sinister soundtrack.
As Neil Young sings "would fade away so young/with so much left undone/remember me to my love I know I'll miss her" (Powderfinger)
Do not miss this film !It's a timeless classic.
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