In a film incorrectly reported as Bill Elliott's last starring western, "Bitter Creek" (released in March of 1954 carrying 16843 as the PCA number) falls a tab bit short of that as it was ...
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In a film incorrectly reported as Bill Elliott's last starring western, "Bitter Creek" (released in March of 1954 carrying 16843 as the PCA number) falls a tab bit short of that as it was followed by "The Forty-Niners", (released two months later on May 9, 1954 with 16874 as the PCA number), but the correctly-reported absence of production values is duly noted. As Clay Tindall (Bill Elliott as Wild Bill Elliott), comes to a town in a search for the killer of his brother and quickly becomes unpopular with the townspeople who are unwillingly but submissive subjects to the whims of local cattleman Quentin Allen (Carleton Young) and his motley gang of hired hands and henchies. At the end, Elliott is given a typical line from his Columbia and Republic days that indicates that killing for revenge isn't admirable or the right thing to do, although he has just finished a rather thorough job of doing just that. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Most of the players around William Elliott did not become household words, with the possible exceptions of Beverly Garland and Claude Akins, who became big TV stars.
But all of them were superior actors, people just loaded with talent.
To name two, Jim Hayward and John Harmon, who played best friends to the hero, performed so believably one has to wonder why stardom did not knock on their doors.
The story was somewhat pedestrian, or at least frequently used, but it is always a good vehicle for action and emotion.
And, since this was an Allied Artists production, the music was excellent, another of those lush scores by the amazing Raoul Kraushaar, a composer of extraordinary talent, and sadly little known today.
Bill Elliott grew up around horses, according to the bio here at IMDb, and he made a believable cowboy and a hero one could always cheer on.
There were so many great actors, from Carleton Young to Veda Ann Borg to John Pickard to Forrest Taylor and John Larch, whose character doesn't even have a name, and we must mention that great ol' pro Dabs Greer, who probably never gave a bad performance.
Perhaps they were as good as they were because R.G. Springsteen was such a good director, one of my favorites among the lesser known directors.
I recommend "Bitter Creek," which is available in an unfortunately too-dark print at YouTube. It is copied from a presentation on Turner Classic Movies, which surely will broadcast it again. Watch it and copy it for yourself.
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