When a shady-looking stranger rides into town to join his old friend it is assumed he is a hired gun. But as the new man comes to realise the unlawful nature of his buddy's business and the... See full summary »
Barbara Bel Geddes,
Late in the Civil War, three Confederate soldiers escape from a Union prison camp in Missouri. They soon fall into the hands of pro-Confederate raiders, who force them to act as "outriders"... See full summary »
Outlaw Wes McQueen is sprung from jail to help pull one last railroad job. He doesn't like his new partners - except dance-hall girl Colorado - and anyway fancies Julie Ann newly arrived ... See full summary »
During the campaign for reelection, the crooked politician Paul Madvig decides to clean up his past, refusing the support of the gangster Nick Varna and associating to the respectable ... See full summary »
Former buffalo hunter and entrepreneur Wyatt Earp arrives in the lawless cattle town of Wichita Kansas. His skill as a gun-fighter make him a perfect candidate for Marshal but he refuses ... See full summary »
The friendship of three Texas Ranchers. Later their ranch was destroyed by Cotrell, of the Union army,and his band of outlaw raiders. The original title was "Distant Drums", this was a description of Civil War army deserters.
Two female con artists from New York City, fleeing the law with loot from their latest scam, hide out in a small Maine town, near the Canadian border. However - the residents of this small ... See full summary »
William D. Russell
A cattle-vs.-sheepman feud loses Connie Dickason her fiance, but gains her his ranch, which she determines to run alone in opposition to Frank Ivey, "boss" of the valley, whom her father Ben wanted her to marry. She hires recovering alcoholic Dave Nash as foreman and a crew of Ivey's enemies. Ivey fights back with violence and destruction, but Dave is determined to counter him legally... a feeling not shared by his associates. Connie's boast that, as a woman, she doesn't need guns proves justified, but plenty of gunplay results. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Contrary to previous reviews of Ramrod, de Toth's film is much more interesting than a "simple cattle vs. sheep" plot-driven western. Just look at Lake's Connie Dickinson. This is a typical femme fatale archetype taken straight from film noir (realistically, the character derives from hard-boiled pulp literature which Luke Short fused with his western story).
Sexually alluring Connie uses her potent sway over men to achieve her greedy ambitions of wealth and power, and is unafraid to send men to their deaths for her cause. Connie's strength of character is atypical of the western genre at this stage, and her strength seems to come from the relative weakness of the film's hero, played by Joel McCrea; who seems to lack the strong sense of moral certainty that the typical westerner was founded upon.
Along with Raoul Walsh's Pursued (1947), and Robert Wise's Blood on the Moon (1948), Ramrod stands as one of the few hybrids between film noir and the western. Regardless of your standpoint on the status of film noir, all of these films contain typical elements from the pessimistic noirs of the 40's and 50's, particularly formal and stylistic devices, as well as recurring personnel, especially directors, stars (ie. Robert Mitchum), and cinematographers. Crucially though, the western genre before this stage was a particularly optimistic one; look at Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939), Dodge City (Michael Curtiz, 1939), or even My Darling Clementine (Ford again, 1946); the three films I mentioned beforehand, including Ramrod, all offer instances of pessimistic worldviews, and morally ambiguous characters and situations, even though they all end with the hero getting the girl and riding into a westward sunset.
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