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The Duel at Silver Creek (1952)

Approved  |   |  Western  |  1 August 1952 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 704 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 14 critic

Marshal Tyrone and the Silver Kid form an uneasy alliance against a gang of claim jumpers.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Duel at Silver Creek (1952)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Opal Lacy
Stephen McNally ...
Marshal Lightning Tyrone
Susan Cabot ...
Jane 'Dusty' Fargo
...
Rod Lacy
Eugene Iglesias ...
Johnny Sombrero
Walter Sande ...
Pete Fargo
...
Tinhorn Burgess
George Eldredge ...
Jim Ryan - Bartender
James Anderson ...
Rat Face Blake (as Kyle James)
Edit

Storyline

A gang of claim jumpers is infesting the territory, gaining ownership of undermanned mining operations through extortion...and leaving no live witnesses. But one victim, quick-drawing gambler Luke Cromwell, escapes. Meanwhille, Marshal Lightnin' Tyrone is also after the gang; recovering from one raid, he meets femme fatale Opal Lacy, who may not be healthy for him to know. When Luke, now calling himself the Silver Kid, joins forces with Marshal Tyrone, the gang had better watch out ...unless something drives a wedge between the new allies. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 August 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Claim Jumpers  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Goofs

When 'Pop' Muzik is shot, immediately as the dead body is shown, the hand is seen to be moving. See more »

Quotes

Johnny Sombrero: I'm reformed, but my friend here isn't. His name is Blake from Tombstone... and he don't like marshals.
Marshal Lightning Tyrone: Maybe there's a good reason why you don't like marshals.
Rat Face Blake: None of 'em lived long enough for us to get acquainted.
Marshal Lightning Tyrone: You've been meeting the wrong kind of marshals.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in This Island Earth: 2 1/2 Years in the Making (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fast-paced, entertaining and enjoyable
28 June 2011 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

I watched this film when it was recently shown on British television, largely because it was an early work by Don Siegel, at the time an up-and-coming young director, but later to become one of Hollywood's most distinguished directors, responsible for films as good as "Dirty Harry" and "The Shootist". It is a Western of the traditional heroes-and-villains variety. The villains are a gang of claim jumpers whose victims are the local miners. Their method of working is a simple one. They pick on a lone miner, force him to sign over his claim under threat of death, and then kill him anyway so he cannot inform on them. (The film does not point out the obvious hole in the scheme, namely that the claim jumpers will not be able to enforce their rights to the claims they take over in this way without revealing their identities).

The main heroes are the local Marshal and the Silver Kid, a young gambler and gunfighter whose father was one of the claim jumpers' victims and who joins forces with the Marshal to seek his revenge. There are two complicating factors. One is that the Marshal has fallen in love with a young woman named Opal Lacey who is secretly in league with the killers. The other is that the Marshal has been shot in the shoulder, an injury which affects his ability to handle a gun.

The best-known actor in the film is Audie Murphy. He made a few good films, most notably "The Red Badge of Courage", but a lot of his output consisted of routine Westerns. Murphy always seemed to be struggling against two disadvantages. The first was the fact that because he had become well-known to the American public for something other than his acting- he was a much-decorated war hero- he was unable to ditch his odd, feminine-sounding Christian name in favour of something more rugged. The second was his smooth, youthful looks which meant that he was frequently typecast as a callow young greenhorn even when he was in his thirties.

Here, however, Murphy is pretty good as the Kid, a brash and undisciplined but basically decent young man who gradually grows in courage and stature. I would agree with the reviewer who pointed out that the relationship between the Kid and Steve McNally's older, wiser Marshal is similar to that between John Wayne and Ricky Nelson in "Rio Bravo". (I've never seen "El Dorado", the other film he mentions).

"Duel at Silver Creek" is a fairly standard Western. As others have pointed out, its plot- the one about the heroic lawman tackling a gang of bandits- is familiar enough to be called a cliché, although that in itself does not mean that the film itself will be a bad one. After all, some very good Westerns, and at least two great ones ("High Noon" and "Gunfight at the OK Corral") have been based around it. "Duel….." is in nothing like the same class as those two films, but Siegel handles the action well, showing signs of the great director he was to become. It may be a B-movie, but it is a fast-paced, entertaining and enjoyable one. 6/10


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