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New ranch owner Frank Madden, half Indian but posing as white, arrives just as an all white jury finds the three white Shipley brothers who lynched three Indians innocent. There is soon trouble between Frank and the Shipleys who are using Frank's land to graze their cattle. When the brother of one of the Indian victims kills a Shipley, Frank is accused and put in jail. The Shipleys then organize a lynch mob and head for the jail. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reprisal! Is directed by George Sherman and written by David P. Harmon, Raphael Hayes and David Dortort. It stars Guy Madison, Felicia Farr, Kathryn Grant, Michael Pate, Edward Platt, Otto Hulett, Wayne Mallory and Frank De Kova. Music is by Mischa Bakaleinikof and Technicolor cinematography by Henry Freulich.
Frank Madden (Madison) is half white, half Indian, in order to be allowed to own his own land in the County of Kendall, Texas, he keeps his half-breed status a secret. Acquiring a ranch and land, Madden quickly falls foul of the Shipley brothers, a trio of thugs known to be Indian killers and intent on making Madden tow their party line.
Nice, in fact something of a treat for Western fans. On plot terms it doesn't sound like much, the sort of run-of-the-mill Oater so prevalent in the 1950s, but there's a lot going on psychologically here to run along side the shoot em' ups, fisticuffs and simmering passions. It starts off very strongly with a court case as the Shipley brothers are on trial for lynching two Indians, clearly guilty, they of course get off because most of the town are Indian haters. This instantly sets it up for half-breed Madden to be constantly at war with himself, he wants to just settle down and earn a crust, but can he keep turning the other cheek as his half kin are abused and used by the very townsfolk he rubs shoulders with?
He keeps winding up in situations where someone needs his help, and it frustrates him greatly, and when his Indian grandfather appears on the scene to offer some sage advice, his emotional confliction goes up still further. The back drop is a town bursting at the seams with racial tensions, then throw in revenge, mob justice, inter-racial lust and murders, you got yourself a film packing in as much as it can in its relatively short running time. It looks nice with photography out of Tuscon, the acting is up to the standard of the production, Grant and Farr are twin delights for the eyes, and Sherman once again proves to be a good old pro who knew his way around a Western.
One of the better "B" Westerns of 1956, well worth catching by duster fans if the chance arises. 7.5/10
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