Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.
An altruistic department-store owner hires ex-convicts in order to give them a second chance at life. Unfortunately, one of the convicts he hires recruits two of his fellow ex-convicts in a plan to rob the store.
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 <email@example.com>
Director Fritz Lang had originally planned to call this film "Chuck-a-Luck". However, the studio insisted that its name be changed to "Rancho Notorious" and when Lang asked why, he was told that it was because Americans wouldn't understand what "Chuck-a-Luck" (a gambling game commonly played in saloons in the Southwest) meant. Lang replied, "Well, it's a good thing that they all know what 'Rancho Notorious' [which has nothing to do with anything in the film] means!" See more »
When Altar and Frenchy argue about her going away, the close up shows them with shoulders in parallel. After the cut to medium, her left shoulder is instantly pressed against his chest. See more »
"Rancho Notorious" is a beautifully atmospheric and suspenseful film. Best known for his expressionist black & white suspense thrillers, director Fritz Lang brings the same qualities to this Technicolor western.
Although she must have been in her fifties when the film was made, Dietrich looks absolutely gorgeous. She also seems to be having lots of fun with the part, in a sense reprising her character from "Destry Rides Again." It's never explained how this woman with the strange German accent ended up in the Wild West, and we don't really care. By the way, Dietrich's performance in these two films was the basis for Madeline Kahn's great parody in "Blazing Saddles."
The one thing that really stands out in my mind about this film is how effectively the suspense builds. The tension leading up to Vern's discovery of the killer's identity is almost unbearable, and Lang makes us wait until the film's last five minutes for the inevitable score-settling gunfight.
In a period of film history when westerns were a dime a dozen, this one really stands out as a true classic.
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