Jim Canfield, convicted of a crime he did not commit, escapes a Nevada prison with several hardened criminals. He leads them to the small farming community home of the man who not only framed him, but committed the crime. But Jim's plans for revenge are put on hold when he discovers that the local men have all joined the posse in the convict's pursuit, leaving their women behind. He soon becomes attracted to the beautiful and resourceful Marcia, who turns out to be the fiance of the man who framed him. Can Jim protect the women from his less-civilized comrades, fall under Marcia's humanizing influence and still maintain his murderous resolve? Written by
Chris Stone <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Secret Of Convict Lake is based on the proposition in the title, if you're a thief you think everyone steals. So when Glenn Ford who was framed for a robbery and murder leads a breakout in a Nevada prison and takes six men over the Sierras to a remote town in the foothills. Ford is looking to even the score with the guy that framed him, but the others who include Zachary Scott, Cyril Cusack, Jack Lambert, and Richard Hylton don't believe him, they believe he's hidden the stolen money there.
One of their number dies, frozen to death on a mountaintop, but the others arrive at a small settlement on a mountain lake. The men are gone and the women are led by tough old pioneer lady Ethel Barrymore. Ford has a tough time keeping the others in line, especially Scott who definitely has his own ideas.
It's pretty tough among the women as well, they haven't seen their men for weeks and some of them are looking good. For Barbara Bates especially, a young inexperienced girl who Hylton takes a fancy to. By the way in those days of The Code, Hylton's portrayal of a sex offender was pretty daring.
Barrymore and Gene Tierney are pretty good at reading character and realize Ford is not a real criminal type. How that all works out you have to see The Secret Of Convict Lake.
The film was shot in another remote Sierra town called Bishop, California and in Durango, Colorado. The cinematography is both stark, forbidding, and strangely beautiful. It happens to be based on a true story at a place called Monte Diablo Lake renamed Convict Lake as per the film.
According to Peter Ford's biography of his dad, Glenn sustained a serious eye infection during the shoot and wore a patch over the infected eye when the cameras weren't rolling. He also had a great admiration for Ethel Barrymore as actress. And he and Gene Tierney found each other's company delightful.
The Secret Of Convict Lake is a must for Glenn Ford's legion of fans.
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