In the scene where Tony Sinclair and his sidekicks confront Clay Ellison and burn the wagon, the shot alternated between a facing shot of Clay, and a rear view. In each shot Clay is holding the shotgun. In the facing shots he holds it across his body with the barrel held high, yet in each of the rear shots it is held horizontally at arms length. There is no apparent movement of the gun, however. See more »
I tried to bend that kid a certain way. I tried to shape him. He was some kind of tough leather that I had to make soft. But he didn't soften any. He wasn't made that way. He was just rotten leather and he came up hard.
See more »
As he got older Robert Taylor got cast in more and more westerns as did so many of his contemporary stars. His first western was in 1941 as Billy the Kid and had Taylor had his way, he would have done a lot more of them sooner. He lived on a ranch in his later years with his second wife Ursula Thiess and their kids and he definitely looked home on the range.
He plays an older and wiser gunfighter like Gregory Peck's character of the film of the same name who would like to settle down and with the help of Donald Crisp, the big cattle ranch owner in the valley where Taylor owns his spread, he's trying to make an honest living.
The problem is that Taylor has a younger brother, a wild kid played by John Cassavetes, who wants to emulate his brother or at least the older version of his brother. And he causes a great deal of problems before the end of the film.
Cassavetes has an interesting part. He could have played it just like Skip Homeier did in The Gunfighter, a punk without any redeeming qualities. But he has to convey enough of a sense of decency so that we understand why Taylor just won't give up on him. I think he succeeds admirably.
The most interesting best of the supporting roles belongs to Royal Dano. He's a bitter, troubled man himself. His father owned a strip of land and abandoned it 20 years ago. Dano moves back on it and tries to assert his rights. In a situation that could probably be worked out either by men of good will or an honest court, neither is available. The result is tragedy all around. I think that this was probably Dano's best screen performance.
Taylor and Cassavetes offer an interesting contrast between a studio personality who learned to become a good actor and a New York based method actor. But that's not the only reason one should see Saddle the Wind. A good, but very grim western is the reason.
25 of 28 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?