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After a stagecoach holdup, Frank Slayton's notorious gang leave Ben Warren for dead and head off with his fiancée. Warren follows, and although none of the townspeople he comes across are prepared to help, he recruits two others who have sworn revenge on the ruthless Slayton. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
BULLETS ARE DEMOCRATIC. THEY DON'T ONLY KILL BADMEN
This originally-filmed 3-D pot boiler features a darkly gorgeous Donna Reed partnering an equally handsome Rock Hudson- the latter displaying the macho charisma he hid behind for most of his career. But the thing is, he's good -and so's Donna. They play an engaged couple about to settle in California at the end of the Civil War. Rock has the odd good line 'Bullets are democratic- they don't only kill badmen' -no doubt an orphan from scriptwriter Kathleen George's novel TEN AGAINST CEASAR on which movie was based and a concept which would have found an echo in post-Korean and WWII veteran audiences.
Ex-Confederate Army cronies' embitterment and discontent is the excuse for stagecoach robbery, murder and kidnapping. Ben Warren [Hudson] is left for dead and his fiancé Jennifer Ballard [Reed] snatched under the unlikely pretext that gang leader Frank Slayton [Phil Carey] fancies her. The later elemental suggestion of suppressed carnality is best left as it was -suppressed. Donna Reed, despite torn blouse -is Rock's girl, and she remains so. Doesn't the Phil Carey know how things in Westerns work out? The plot of George's novel, TEN AGAINST CAESAR has been uncomplicated to a degree where an orangutan, given five seconds and a paintbrush, could have written the subsequence and denouement.
But credibility is not what this movie is all about.
It's about how parted Rock and Donna are re-united and triumph over -albeit manufactured -adversity ; it's about searing Arizona desert; the magnificence of 1950 Technicolor Western-making, and perhaps most of all about the making of desolation beautiful. I remember its flat screen release as a kid, was dying to see it but couldn't afford the admission. Had I seen it then I know how I would have reacted - I would have considered it good value and left the cinema, six-gun at the ready, seeking a showdown.
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