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'd rather send a son of mine riding and never see him again than have to bury him.
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In the 1950s, the best way to attack an intolerably conformist society was to take a harmless 'popular' genre and subvert it, overturn its assumptions. Sirk did it with the woman's picture, Minnelli with the musical, Hitchcock with the thriller; Robert Parrish does it here with the Western, with a vision of Eisenhower family-values capitalist America as a medieval feudality, where everyone must pay obeisance to a landowner, where the stable family unit consists of a killer and a wild sexual neurotic, and where capitalism is actually destructive to the family and continuity, a sterile thing.
Whether John Cassavetes is an embodiment of the Western hero gone wrong, the pressure of capitalism turned in on itself, or a rebel without a cause, the film is full of powerful incident - Cassavetes' first insane shooting spree, which he ends by shooting his own puddled reflection; the drunken attack by Cassavetes and friend on a family of homesteaders, uncomfortably reversing the old attacking-Indians routine; the Leonesque showdown between Cassavetes and Ellison backed by his own brother. Very much a post-'Searchers' Western, land here is synonymous with spilt blood not destiny.
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