During the war for Texas independence, one man leaves the Alamo before the end (chosen by lot to help others' families) but is too late to accomplish his mission, and is branded a coward. ... See full summary »
This movie just begins the transition from the old, cartoonish Scott Westerns and the more adult Boetticher films...they were getting there, but just not there yet. This movie is still very heavy on the one-dimensional characters and you won't find any Method acting, but Randolph Scott had aged just perfectly by this point...the lines in his face providing a mature ruggedness...no more matinée idol good looks...just a weather-beaten cowboy. His acting isn't very good in this one, but he always looked the part of the hero (except for the hat he wears in the beginning of the film...impossible to take him seriously in that ridiculous thing).
The IMDb critics, as well as many legitimate critics, pile on top of poor George Macready, complaining that he didn't belong in Westerns. The problem with these poor misguided folks is that they expect a Western to only contain southern accents. Our land was settled by those from all over the UK, Europe, and beyond, so the fact that George Macready has the speech pattern and accent that he does would actually be MORE accurate for the time period, not less. And how can anyone complain about him as the bad guy when his normal speaking voice was so phenomenal and unique...the man literally sounds like a snake! He's a fine actor and I always enjoy watching him.
Although Forrest Tucker does a fairly good job throughout, the bulk of the supporting cast all give performances that never ring true. The best actor in the whole movie? Dorothy Malone. I was really surprised at how good she was. I had only ever seen her as a blonde, so I almost didn't recognize her as a brunette...and so young and innocent! She looked absolutely beautiful, and gave a uniformly good and honest performance.
I'm a guy who likes my action films undiluted with dopey love stories, but I must say that the scenes between Scott and Malone were excellent...they had some real chemistry...and I think because Ms. Malone was such a good actress, she raised Scott's performance up to where it should have been throughout. ***QUASI-SPOILERS COMING UP*** The problem is, they never hug, never kiss, never fall in love in a way that means anything...always from a distance. Their chemistry was really wasted. He doesn't even say goodbye to her at the end of the movie and she has a dopey line to let the audience know he'll be back!! That was a big let-down.
Unless you're a die-hard Randolph Scott fan, or want to get an eyeful of an adorable Dorothy Malone, I would suggest letting this film go by. The best of the Scott films are: The Tall T, Ride Lonesome, Seven Men From Now, and Comanche Station...those are guaranteed to entertain.
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