7.0/10
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Rancho Notorious (1952)

Approved | | Western | 19 September 1952 (Finland)
After the murder of his fiancée, a Wyoming ranch hand sets out to find her killer.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (original story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Vern Haskell
...
...
Beth Forbes
...
Baldy Gunder
...
Maxine
John Raven ...
Chuck-a-Luck Dealer
...
Mort Geary
...
...
Preacher
...
Harbin
...
Comanche Paul
...
Jeff Factor
...
Rio (as Rodric Redwing)
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Storyline

A western based on the story "Gunsight Whitman" by Silvia Richards. Vern Haskell, a nice rancher, seeks out to avenge his fiancé's death when she is killed during a robbery. His revenge leads him to Chuck-a-luck, Altar Keane's ranch set up to hide criminals, and he finds more than he bargains for. Written by Andre'a M. Thompson <athompso@ziggy.st.hmc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She runs the West's strangest hideout... a ranch where a guest can hide his crime... quench his thirst... betray a woman... and knife a man in the back... for a price! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 September 1952 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Chuck-a-Luck  »

Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cinematographer Hal Mohr, who had previously photographed Marlene Dietrich in Destry Rides Again (1939) attempted to resign from the film due to Dietrich's insistence that he achieve for her, greater youth-through-lighting, than he felt possible. See more »

Goofs

Ken Darby is given screen credit for the music and lyrics to "Gypsy Davey". In reality, "Gypsy Davey" is a folk song from the Scottish/Irish tradition that dates back to the 18th century. See more »

Quotes

Altar Keane: [Her birthday is tomorrow] Don't ask how old I'll be tomorrow, or I'll ask you.
Frenchy Fairmont: Does another year bother you?
Altar Keane: Every year's a threat to a woman.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Fatale beauté (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Legend of Chuck-A-Luck
Music and Lyrics by Ken Darby
Ballad Sung by Bill Lee (as William Lee)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great pulp Western by the great Fritz Lang
3 May 2002 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

Rancho Notorious is a gorgeous film, with beautiful Technicolor cinematography. It almost reaches the poetry of a John Ford film, or a great film noir, but falls just a little short. Arthur Kennedy plays Vern, a rancher whose fiancee is brutally raped and murdered. He goes out for revenge, following the clues. He ends up at Rancho Notorious, a hideout for outlaws run by Alder Keane, played wonderfully by Marlene Dietrich in one of her most memorable roles. She's fully in her philosophical mode here, like she was in Touch of Evil a few years later. She's so sad, so beautiful. She also has a great musical number. Mel Ferrer is also quite good as Frenchie Fairmont, a lethal cowboy who loves Alder. There are also a lot of great supporting actors playing colorful villains, especially George Reeves (T.V.'s Superman).

The story is quite great. There are a couple of problems with characterizations, especially Vern. He's mostly great. He's mostly a noir hero, flawed in his own right but always believing that he's on an entirely moral quest. The film goes wrong when he becomes the romantic hero. He's too creepy. Dietrich simply dominates him. Mel Ferrer fairs much better in that way. The climactic sequence also disappoints. The other major flaw is that damn theme song. Rancho Notorious is pulp, it's very over-the-top, but that goofy song would make anybody laugh. Also, the name Chuck-a-Luck inspired a lot of laughs in the audience (I was lucky enough to see it at a theater).

Overall, though, Rancho Notorious is a great film, quite haunting in its own right. It's one of Lang's best, by my reckoning, up there with Fury and M. 9/10.


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