In this western remake of Kiss of Death (1947), a convicted bank robber serving his sentence, and wishing nothing more than to finish his time and get back to his family, gets involved with...
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In this western remake of Kiss of Death (1947), a convicted bank robber serving his sentence, and wishing nothing more than to finish his time and get back to his family, gets involved with a psychotic, homicidal inmate who turns on him and winds up terrorizing his wife and murdering his friends. Written by
Fox reused the music score from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) by Bernard Herrmann in this picture, much to his regret. He was outraged, and told the studio executives what he thought of it when he received notice from the Musicians' Union in 1958. See more »
There is a minor tradition of remaking crime movies for the Western genre."The Badlanders"is a retread of "The Asphalt Jungle"while "Colorado Territory"is a remake of "High Sierra".
"The Fiend Who Walked The West"is "Kiss of Death"in Western clothing and is almost a splendid movie.Hugh OBrian is "Daniel Slade Hardy" a decent gangster/outlaw who wants to go straight and turns to criminality only to keep his family fed.While in prison he confides in his deranged cellmate "Felix Griffin"the location of a cache of stolen money.Griffin on release tracks down and kills one of the robbers and slays his mother before terrorising Hardy's wife.Hardy is set free-in the guise of an escape-to bring the now out of control Griffin to justice
The problem is not the script,direction(by the under-rated Gordon Douglas)or the acting by seasoned performers like OBrian and McNally(playing the sympathetic lawman but a performance of utter inadequacy by Robert Evans as Griffin.Where Richard Widmark in the original induced fear and loathing all that Evans evokes is a desire to laugh.Pouting prettily and assuming sub James Dean stances does not constitute acting and merely suggests a poor imitation of an poor actor.(The influence of James Dean on screen acting was wholly negative)If your villain comes over as a pouting pretty boy who needs a sound spanking then your movie is in trouble
Its atmospheric,violent for its day and all the ingredients bar one -a credible actor in the pivotal role are in place.This lack mars the whole piece
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