6.3/10
670
19 user 10 critic

The Lawless Breed (1953)

Not Rated | | Action, Biography, Western | 3 January 1953 (USA)
After being released from prison, former gun-fighter John Wesley Hardin hopes to have his autobiography published in order to rehabilitate his tarnished reputation.

Director:

Writers:

(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Outraged by Redleg atrocities, the James and Younger Brothers along with Kit Dalton join Quantrill's Raiders and find themselves participating in even worse war crimes.

Director: Ray Enright
Stars: Audie Murphy, Brian Donlevy, Marguerite Chapman
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

During the war for Texas independence, one man leaves the Alamo before the end (chosen by lot to help others' families) but is too late to accomplish his mission, and is branded a coward. ... See full summary »

Director: Budd Boetticher
Stars: Glenn Ford, Julie Adams, Chill Wills
Seminole (1953)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A cavalry lieutenant on trial for murder recounts his efforts make peace with the Seminole Indian tribe, under an evil major.

Director: Budd Boetticher
Stars: Rock Hudson, Barbara Hale, Anthony Quinn
Gun Fury (1953)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

In Arizona, Frank Slayton's gang robs a stagecoach and kidnaps Ben Warren's fiancée, prompting Warren to pursue Slayton.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Rock Hudson, Donna Reed, Philip Carey
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Two down-on-their-luck former outlaws volunteer to be Texas Rangers and find themselves assigned to bring in an old friend, now a notorious outlaw.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Jack Oakie, Jean Parker
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Businessman Logan Stuart is torn between his love of two very different women in 1850's Oregon and his loyalty to a compulsive gambler friend who goes over the line.

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Dana Andrews, Brian Donlevy, Susan Hayward
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

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

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Audie Murphy, Faith Domergue, Stephen McNally
Horizons West (1952)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Two brothers end up on opposite sides of the law in post-Civil War Texas.

Director: Budd Boetticher
Stars: Robert Ryan, Julie Adams, Rock Hudson
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A Confederate Major and his troops are falsely led to believe the Civil War is not over, and become wanted men after they attack a Union Army wagon train in Nevada.

Director: Roy Huggins
Stars: Randolph Scott, Donna Reed, Claude Jarman Jr.
Backlash (1956)
Mystery | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Jim Slater seeks a survivor of the Apache ambush his father died in.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Richard Widmark, Donna Reed, William Campbell
Tumbleweed (1953)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Jim Harvey is hired to guard a small wagon train as it makes its way west. The train is attacked by Indians and Harvey, hoping to persuade Aguila, the chief, to call off the attack due to ... See full summary »

Director: Nathan Juran
Stars: Audie Murphy, Lori Nelson, Chill Wills
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Brendan O'Malley arrives at the Mexican home of old flame Belle Breckenridge to find her married to a drunkard getting ready for a cattle drive to Texas. Hot on O'Malley's heels is lawman ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Rock Hudson, Kirk Douglas, Dorothy Malone
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Rosie McCoy (as Julia Adams)
Mary Castle ...
...
J.G. Hardin / John Clements
...
Ike Hanley
...
Jim Clements
Forrest Lewis ...
Zeke Jenkins
...
Dirk Hanley
Tom Fadden ...
Chick Noonan, Undertaker
Race Gentry ...
Young John Hardin
Richard Garland ...
Joe Clements
...
Ben Hanley
William Pullen ...
Joe Hardin
Edit

Storyline

Released from jail, John Wesley Hardin leaves an account of his life with the local newspaper. It tells of his overly religious father, his resulting life of cards and guns, and his love for his step-sister replaced on her death during a gun fight with that for dance-hall girl Rosie. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Greatest Gunfighter of Them All! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 January 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gefährliches Blut  »

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?

Trivia

The real John Wesley Hardin was a sadistic, sociopathic killer who murdered at least 43 people, many from ambush, some shot in the back and one for snoring too loudly. The actual number of people he killed is still unknown. A raging alcoholic, many of his most murderous sprees were fueled by his prodigious consumption of the almost toxic hard liquor of those days. See more »

Goofs

Mid-point in the film, as the wounded Hardin is being helped into hiding by his uncle, a two-trailer truck drives by in the background, clearly visible. See more »

Quotes

John Wesley Hardin: I'm getting out of here, clear out of Texas, Jane, and we'll get that farm, Jane, just like I promised you: the well...
Jane Brown: Sure, I know. The place with the white painted fence, the green grass, and the water all year round. I don't believe that any more, Wes. I don't think you believe it! No, you'll never have that place, not now. You'll never have more than six feet of ground.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Rock Hudson's Home Movies (1992) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"A man can change"
28 November 2010 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

Many motion pictures work on two levels – the way they read and the way they look. This is especially true of B-movies in the 1950s, when the studios would buy any old pulp screenplay and allocate a minimal budget with recycled sets and costumes, and yet turn over total creative control to a seasoned and professional director who used to be a big shot. This was the situation with virtually every Raoul Walsh picture from this period. He'd long since had his day, and his bosses gave him little more than turkey-material to shoot, and yet he continued to imbue every picture with the intensity and romanticism that had always been his hallmark.

The Lawless Breed supposedly chronicles the career of real-life outlaw John Wesley Hardin. It announces itself as the result of "new research", and just as they used to say in Police Squad, only the facts have been changed. Hardin's two love interests, the names of people he killed, the number of children he had, not to mention his general character are all completely made up. Writers William Alland and Bernard Gordon have essentially invented a fictional character and given him Hardin's name. But the point of this is not to tell it as it really happened – this is a classic Western after all. The point is to give you a picture of the Old West and a typical Western hero as posterity has remembered them.

And this is what makes it the sort of project Walsh would really get his teeth into. For Walsh, there was romance and nostalgia in the open plain. Look at how he begins the picture with rather confined shots of the town, with foreground business and buildings bordering the frame. Then when we cut to Hardin's childhood we are hit with the beauty of the wide open spaces. As opposed to the yellows and browns of your average Technicolor horse opera, this is an abundantly green West, and Walsh seems to have worked closely with cinematographer Irving Glassberg and art directors Bernard Herzbrun and Richard Riedel to bring this tone to the fore. Green here represents freedom, hope and the good life, and it either covers the screen or retreats to a distant corner as appropriate, even worked in as a reminder during indoor scenes, such as the tree outside the window when he visits Jane by night. In his monochrome pictures Walsh would often use lighting to chart the hero's rise and fall (They Died with their Boots on (1941) is a good example), and here he uses colour to the same effect. The bold greens give a warm and homely feel to Hardin's cherished dream of a farm, and whenever he drifts away from that dream we turn to stark off-whites.

In the leading role Rock Hudson is a middling success. He's just too steady and self-assured to convince as the young, hot-headed outlaw. On the other hand, he develops very well into the older and wiser Hardin, and as he would later show in Giant (1956) his forte seems to have been playing middle-aged. As is typical in a Walsh Western, the rest of the cast are an appropriately motley bunch, with no shortage of dusty faces and grizzly whiskers. Even though their performances aren't exactly outstanding, John McIntire hits the right notes in his dual role as Hardin's father and uncle, and Julie Adams is tough and unglamorous enough to portray both the saloon lass she starts out as and country wife she becomes. Also worth a mention is a young Lee Van Cleef, in one of his numerous third-baddie-on-the-left appearances before he became a big star in Italy. Although Hugh O'Brien is ostensibly the leader of the Hanley clan, it's clear Van Cleef's menacing presence was being noticed, as he is given all the most threatening lines and bits of macho business.

There's no escaping the fact however that as written The Lawless Breed is a rather lacklustre affair. The dialogue throughout is either corny or simply dull. A set-piece like Hardin continuing to play cards after being given an hour to get out of town doesn't seem able to decide whether it is being played for tension or for laughs. And yet there is a precious handful of moments which Walsh has been able to stage with pure and compelling visuals, such as the confrontation with the Hanleys on a windswept street or the ageing hero's bittersweet return to his home and family, and these are absolutely stunning. And such is Walsh's devotion to the feel of the picture even the most boring of scenes looks nice and fits in with the tone of the whole piece. The story may be a poorly-written rough-shod ride over the truth, but in its imagery The Lawless Breed has a beauty that is engaging and sincere.


3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Lawless Breed (1953) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?