6.4/10
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21 user 9 critic

A Lawless Street (1955)

Approved | | Western | 15 December 1955 (USA)
A Marshal must face unpleasant facts about his past when he attempts to run a criminal gang out of town.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Marshal Calem Ware
...
Tally Dickenson
...
Hamer Thorne
...
Cora Dean
...
Dr. Amos Wynn
...
Cody Clark
...
Asaph Dean
...
Molly Higgins
...
Harley Baskam
...
Dooley Brion
...
Mrs. Dingo Brion
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Storyline

The marshal of Medicine Bend is tired and alone. Tired of killing to keep himself from being killed; alone because of an unspoken past disappointment. The realisation that someone in town is paying to have him killed and the arrival with a show troupe of the special someone from the past coincide to force more than one type of showdown. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They were all running out at the same time ... his luck ... his bullets ... his woman ! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

15 December 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Marshal of Medicine Bend  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

At the theater the band plays an introduction with the conductor playing a violin while alternately using the bow as a baton. Near the end of the number he plays the violin for three notes with no sound; then, he holds the bow as a baton and the three notes are played. See more »

Quotes

Marshal Calem Ware: Men, Cody Clark is buying drinks. He won all bets.
Cody Clark: That's right. Drinks are on the house...and everybody is welcomed!
Marshal Calem Ware: You can also take up a collection for burying Dingo. Add this
[money]
Marshal Calem Ware: to it.
Cody Clark: That's right nice of you Calem. Funny how a man softens to another when once he's killed him.
Marshal Calem Ware: I don't know about that. I'd do as much if it were your funeral.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in In Darkest Hollywood: Cinema and Apartheid (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Funny how a man softens to another when once he's killed him.
26 January 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Marshal Calem Ware (Randolph Scott) is tired of Medicine Bend, tired of killing and tired of reprobates trying to kill him. He's also haunted by pain in his past. So when the past resurfaces and yet another scum-bag turns up to put out his light, Calem faces what he hopes will be the final day of reckoning.

Brought to us by the Scott/Brown production company, A Lawless Street is directed by Joseph H. Lewis, adapted from a Brad Ward story (Marshal of Medicine Bend) by Kenneth Gamet and features cinematography from Ray Rennahan at French Ranch - Hidden Valley Road, Thousand Oaks in California. Joining Scott in the cast are Angela Lansbury, Warner Anderson, Jean Parker & Wallace Ford.

This film came a year before Scott would do Seven Men From Now with Budd Boetticher, the start of which was a run of "adult" Westerns that showcased the best of both Scott and the Western of the 50s. So it's not unsurprising to find that "A Lawless Street" is some way short of the quality of the Boetticher/Scott movies. In fact, Scott may not just be in character for the film, he looks genuinely tired, which is in keeping with the very tired feel of it all.

It has proved to be a pretty divisive film amongst Western purists, the routine story not helped by the fact it has been done to perfection before in other, more notable genre pieces. While the script also lacks vim and vigour and Scott is surrounded by very average actors. The ending fizzles out after the promise of so much more, and in fact it's ponderously drawn out. Yet the first half of the film saves it from being a stinker, Lewis' camera-work is fluid and fist fight fans are served up a treat. And we even get Lansbury flexing her tonsils for a delightful little ditty.

So it's very much a film of two differing halves, one that sadly doesn't make for a satisfying whole. Much like Switzerland, I'm staying neutral with it, a 5/10 rating is given on proviso that it's noted that where Scott and Lewis are concerned, I'm unashamedly biased.


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