6.9/10
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18 user 10 critic

Man in the Shadow (1957)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | January 1958 (USA)
Virgil Renchler owns most of the town providing a thriving economy. When his men go too far and kill one of his migrant workmen, the sheriff goes after him even if it means his job and everyone else's.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Virgil Renchler
Colleen Miller ...
Skippy Renchler
...
Ab Begley
Barbara Lawrence ...
Helen Sadler
John Larch ...
Ed Yates
...
Hank James
...
Aiken Clay
...
Herb Parker
Leo Gordon ...
Chet Huneker
...
Jesus Cisneros
Mario Siletti ...
Tony Santoro, the barber
Charles Horvath ...
Len Bookman
...
Jim Shaney
Joseph J. Greene ...
Harry Youngquist
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Storyline

In effect, modern cow town Spurline is run by Virgil Renchler, owner of the Golden Empire Ranch. One night, two of Virgil's henchmen go a little too far and beat a "bracero" ranch hand to death. Faced with an obvious cover-up and opposition on every hand, sheriff Ben Sadler is goaded into investigating. His unlikely ally: Renchler's lovely, self-willed and overprotected daughter. Will Ben survive Renchler's wrath? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

VIOLENCE AND FEAR GRIPPED THIS LAND OF THE LAWLESS! (all original posters-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

January 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Seeds of Wrath  »

Box Office

Budget:

$600,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Virgil Renchler was originally supposed to be played by Robert Middleton. The William Morris Agency instead suggested Orson Welles, who badly needed money to pay income taxes he owned to the Internal Revenue Service. See more »

Goofs

Many characters comment about the heat, saying the temperature must be well over 100 degrees, yet even though they are all wearing long sleeves, ties, even suits, no one is ever sweating. The only ones with even a bit moisture on them are the old man and one of the henchmen. See more »

Quotes

Ab Begley: [Referring to Cisneros' accusations] Ben, you're not going to take this seriously?
Ben Sadler: They pay me to take things seriously.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Veil: Summer Heat (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Local Tyranny
31 August 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

With the debate over illegal immigration and the concern that it is mostly coming from south of the American border, Man in the Shadow is a film that has assumed a serious relevance for us today.

Jeff Chandler is the sheriff of a small southwestern town and a Mexican migrant worker, Martin Garralaga, has brought news of a homicide committed by white ranch hands on the property of his employer Orson Welles. It seems that a young Mexican was paying to much attention to Welles's daughter, Colleen Miller, and Welles wanted to teach him the error of his ways. Of course Leo Gordon and John Larch go too far and now a murder has to be covered up.

It becomes two murders when witness Garralaga also turns up dead. Though Welles and his Golden Empire Ranch have a stranglehold on the local economy and the town's leading citizens beg Chandler not to pursue the case, Chandler doggedly goes ahead anyway. He's the sheriff and it's his duty.

Chandler in this modern western is a standup straight arrow sheriff in the mold of Gary Cooper or John Wayne. He takes his oath of office quite seriously. And what happens to him during the course of the investigation makes the townspeople want to re-examine just how much they want to kowtow to Welles and his hired thugs.

Mario Siletti, the town barber and one of the few who backs Chandler without reservation, puts it best in that his father fled from a guy who was running Italy in the Twenties the same way Welles was running this corner of the USA.

Orson Welles just by his appearance in what is a B picture lent enormous prestige to it. This was one of those acting jobs he did trying to earn money to finance his own projects. But Welles never gave less than 100% of himself in anything he did. His portrait of a malevolent Ben Cartwright is a great piece of work.

Man in the Shadow played the bottom of double features in the Fifties, but those who saw it were not disappointed.


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