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Marshal Silver is run out of town under suspicion of being a trigger-happy killer after shooting a hired gun of Honest John Barrett. A placid life in a new town is interrupted by the reappearance of Barrett, old enemies and the son of the hired gun from years ago, Anderson. Written by
Doug White <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the pantheon of great westerns "The Proud Ones" (1956) is a meager contribution! It is hard to believe that 20th Century Fox - the studio behind this just about fair offering - had the same year given us the splendid "The Last Wagon".
It is poorly written and badly directed! The weak screenplay by Edmund North and Joseph Patracca renders the cast hesitant and unconvincing. The picture's star Robert Ryan looks distinctly ill at ease as the embattled town marshal. Ryan's forte was always playing the somewhat deranged characters he displayed so well in movies such as "Crossfire", "Beware My Lovely", "Odds Against Tomorrow" etc. But here as a square- jawed upright lawman in a frontier town he is not wholly acceptable! His playing lacks the buoyancy Glenn Ford or Randolph Scott could have brought to the part! The female lead is taken by the lovely Virginia Mayo who has little to do except stand around and look err.. lovely! Her role is little more than cosmetic! She is simply "the girl" in the picture! Third billed is Jeffrey Hunter as a gunfighter out to avenge his father's death. Hunter,to me , was always a gloomy performer and here seems gloomier than usual. Perhaps the dull script could have something to do with his on screen demeanour?
Best in it is the wonderful Walter Brennan as the jailer! His role looking every bit like a dry run for his marvellous character Stumpy in Howard Hawks'"Rio Bravo" three years later. Good too is Arthur O'Connell as the over anxious and nervous father-to-be deputy and the rotund Robert Middleton as the immaculately dressed saloon owning baddie (how come they always manage to own the town's drinking hole?? Hmmm) Ultimately though the movie isn't really up to much and "The Proud Ones" remains a vehicle that few involved in the production could feel any pride! There are no marks either for the awful DVD cover with terrible graphics and featuring a shot that doesn't even come from the movie! However, I give it a three star rating for the fine Cinemascope/Colour cinematography by the great Lucien Ballard and the haunting theme tune (a minor hit in the late fifties) by Lionel Newman which is wasted on this pot boiler of an oater! Why don't Fox put out the far superior "Rio Conchos" (1964)? A great western with plenty of action and featuring the best performance by the late Anthony Franciosa!
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