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Audie Murphy comes into his own as a Western star in this story. Wrongly accused by crooked railroad officials of aiding a train heist by his old friends the Daltons, he joins their gang and becomes an active participant in other robberies. Betrayed by a fellow gang member, Murphy becomes a fugitive in the end. Seeking refuge at the ranch of a reformed gang member, he hopes to flee with the man's daughter to South America, but he's captured in the end and led off to jail. The girl promises to wait. Written by
Rita Richardson <RRichar790@aol.com>
You know this has got a chance of getting a little rough.
The Cimarron Kid is directed by Budd Boetticher and written by Louis Stevens and Kay Lenard. It stars Audie Murphy, Beverly Tyler, James Best, Yvette Dugay, John Hudson, Leif Erickson, Noah Beery Junior and Hugh O'Brian. Music is by Joseph Gershenson and cinematography by Charles P. Boyle.
Murphy stars as Bill Doolin, AKA: The Cimarron Kid, who leaves prison intending to go straight. However, when the Dalton Gang rob the train he is a passenger on, one of them recognises him and vocally brings it to the attention of the rest of the passengers. Incorrectly earmarked as one of the gang, Doolin finds himself on the run from the law and forced to hide out with the Dalton's. Bitter and angry at the false way he has been perceived, Doolin becomes an active part of the gang, but there is love in the air with Carrie Roberts (Tyler) offering hope of a new, on the right side of the law, life.
Boetticher is a name dear to the hearts of Western fans, he would go forward from here to make the Ranown Westerns with Randolph Scott, thus leaving a considerable mark in the psychological Western pantheon. Invariably his other forays into the genre struggle to hold a torch to those later efforts, but although they lack the insightfulness and quality of narrative of those pictures made with Scott, the likes of this and The Man from the Alamo are minor gems well worth discovering.
The story on premise terms doesn't offer anything new, where the core beat of the picture is about a man who has been dealt some bad life cards and can't escape his criminal past. Yet the story is unfolded in such away that hope is dangled in front of The Kid and we are never sure how it will pan out for him? In fact the finale has a couple of kickers that ensure it's well worth the viewing experience. There's the usual roll call of gang character's, including the loose cannon (O'Brian), but that familiarity of genre convention is off set by the addition of Yvette Dugay's Rose of Cimarron. She's a crafty and athletic part of the set up, a well written part and Dugay performs it well whilst joining Tyler in the gorgeous Technicolor darlings stakes.
This is also a picture high on action and filled with lovely outdoor photography. Locations used are the historical parks at Columbia State and Railtown 1897, both are photographed expertly by Boyle, with Boetticher deftly utilising them to aid the story. Best of the action comes with a shoot out and escape after the Coffeyville bank raids (resplendent with burning hay wagon), while the quite excellent and extended shoot out centred around Railtown's turntable is one of the finest action constructions on Boetticher's CV. Cast are strong, led superbly by a thoughtful Murphy performance of substance, and prolific Western scorer Gershenson adds the required bombast and tenderness when required.
Its B movie worth sometimes shows, such as handcuffs that mysteriously disappear from the escaping Doolin, but taken as a whole this is a little cracker of an Oater and highly recommended to Western fans. 8/10
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