|Page 1 of 2:|| |
|Index||11 reviews in total|
I've long been a fan of Audie Murphy and event his lesser movies are
better than most of the drivel that comes out of Hollywood today.
This is a good movie on its merits and not just as a vehicle for Murphy. It works well on all levels - story, acting, and directing. What I most enjoyed is the fact each actor is given screen time to rise above the stereotypes and create a memorable character - even if they only have a few lines.
The two I remember most are the young banker Seymour Kern (John Saxon) and the Mexican cowboy Johnny Caddo (Rudolph Acosta). Saxon in particular does well showing true, believable growth; he isn't just there as a foil/sidekick for Murphy to play off of but as a genuine character treated as equally important to the storyline. Acosta, usually a villain in the movies, plays an equally important role as a Spanish cowboy who joins simply because "it's the right thing to do".
This western starts with the bad guys, among them Lee Van Cleef invading a town named Paradise and by taking hostages managing to rob the bank, even though they are in minority. Vic Morrow is the cruel Crip, who seems to be the leader. They leave town taking a woman, Helen (Zohra Lampert). Audie Murphy is Cole, who will lead the posse. The best thing about the film are the action scenes. Perhaps because Murphy was a war hero, his performance in a shootout seems more real than what we are used to see. John Saxon is Kern, a New Yorker who is working for the bank and which is sent along in order to see that the money gets back. He hates the West and never rode a horse before, so part of the fun of the film is seeing how he will deal with his task.
Posse from Hell is directed by Herbert Coleman and adapted to
screenplay by Clair Huffaker from his own novel of the same name. It
stars Audie Murphy, John Saxon, Zohra Lampert, Rodolfo Acosta, Royal
Dano, Robert Keith and Vic Morrow. Out of Universal-International, it's
an Eastman Color production with cinematography by Clifford Stine and
music supervised by Joseph Gershenson.
1880 and four escapees from death row ride into the small town of Paradise intent on causing mayhem. After robbing the bank and killing innocent men in the saloon, the men escape out of Paradise, taking with them a female hostage. A posse is formed, to be led by the slain Marshal's friend, ex-gunfighter Banner Cole, but good men are hard to find and Cole senses he would be better off on his own. But although many will die from this point on, from such adversity can heroes and friendships be born....
A little under seen and under appreciated is Posse from Hell. Hardly a deep psychological Western that strips bare the characters out on the trail, but certainly a picture high on action, blood and gutsy bravado. The title is a little misleading because the posse assembled is practically a roll call of stereotypes: gunman turned good, tenderfoot, man of different race ostracised, vengeful brother, pretty gal emotionally damaged, ex-army guy, wanna be kid gunslinger, and on it goes. Yet there is grim textures in the narrative (rape/revenge/cold blooded murder) and Gershenson scores it with horror movie strains. Even the blood red titles that open the picture look like something from a Hammer Horror production, clearly Coleman, Huffaker and co were aiming for a hellish wild west while cheekily having their posse formed out of a town called Paradise! A place where not all the citizens are stand up folk.
For Murphy fans this rounds out as real good value, he gets to do a number of great scenes like pouncing on a rattlesnake and diving through a window, while there's plenty of gun play moments for him to get his teeth into. But it also represents a good characterisation performance from him as Banner Cole, a man rough around the edges but definitely beating a humanist heart underneath the tough exterior. Around Murphy is a group of solid pros and up and coming stars, there's the odd iffy performance (Frank Overton) and overacting (Paul Carr), but nothing that overtly hurts the film. Main problem with it is that the villains remain elusive to us as characters, galling because we have been teased greatly in the opening section where we were introduced to some delicious villainy from Morrow as the leader Crip and Lee Van Cleef as Leo. More Morrow as a reprehensible bastard was definitely needed!
Major plus point is the use of Lone Pine, Alabama Hills, for the exteriors. A wonderfully rugged, yet beautiful part of the world, where the weird rock and boulder formations envelope the characters as a reminder that it's tough out here in the west. It's an area that Budd Boetticher and Randy Scott used to great effect for their superb Ranown Westerns. It's a shame that Boetticher never worked with Murphy more, for I feel sure he really could have gotten another 25% out of him, especially around the early 60s period. Still, Posse from Hell is a very enjoyable Audie Murphy picture, a bit more violent than most of his other Westerns, it's one that if you can forgive the odd creak here and there? And not expect some posse containing Satan's offspring? Then entertained you shall be. 7/10
A reluctant deputy takes an even more reluctant posse after 4 dangerous thugs who killed several townspeople and left with a hostage. The posse is so inept that several of them are gunned down while engaging the enemy on 3 or 4 occasions. Ol' Murph tried to keep them in line but they were mostly pretty hopeless. Lots of gunplay made for a good western, even if it was a little lame.
better than average Audie Murphy western with more sharply defined
characters than usual - plus a good script that brings freshness - and
even fun - to the heavily traveled chase 'em plot
the actors help a lot - Robert Keith as the grizzled ex Civil War soldier who keeps trying to take over the posse - Rudolph Acosta as an Indian trying to be accepted - John Saxon as a soft Easterner reluctantly shoved into posse duty - Paul Carr as an eager young man handy with pistols - to name a few - somehow the script makes this diverse group interesting without making them annoying - the one notable exception is the 1-dimensional quality of the kidnapped girl as written - fortunately - the role was given over to the way-too-talented Zohra Lampert - and she brings this small part to life
the represents the type of effort that makes genre enjoyable
Posse From Hell is my second favorite Audie Murphy western, his best
being No Name On The Bullet. It's Audie who is leading the men who make
up the Posse From Hell, he's a deputy tracking down the killer of the
marshal and another citizen from his town of Paradise.
Four prize specimens scheduled to hang escape from territorial prison and come upon the town and terrorize it, taking with them as hostage and sex toy Zohra Lampert. The leader of the four is Vic Morrow who packs a deadly shotgun. Morrow is absolutely riveting in his evil, this may very well be his career role.
In fact Posse From Hell has many good supporting parts, Robert Keith plays a vain Civil War soldier looking to recapture some of his former prestige or acquire some he never had. John Saxon also stands out as a bank clerk who's from the east who joins the posse to see if he has the right stuff. Rudolfo Acosta who usually plays bad guys plays an Indian who joins the posse as a tracker and takes a lot of guff from the more self righteous whites.
Seeing how deadly Morrow is with a shotgun this is an image that will disturb you and stay with you a long time.
A nice cast of familiar players help Audie Murphy make this one of his best westerns. An absolute must for his fans.
Very superior B-Western. It is well cast. The posse is made of
heterogeneous, well fleshed-out characters --more so than the usual
Western. I enjoyed everything about the film, even stolid, amiable star
Audie Murphy, who seemed tolerable. Most of the time, in an understated
way, he seemed to keep from laughing out loud or reprimanding his inept
posse crew. It must amuse most fans that while Murphy was the most
decorated American soldier in WW II (maybe US history) in real life,
his movie presence is often milquetoast.
I want to mention three very unusual things about this movie, all commendable in my opinion: One, in most Westerns the bad guys hold up the bank, quickly race out of town, and an instant posse takes off after them. But here there was an amazing scene that I found believable and in tune with the movie. The bad guys killed the marshal and some others and DIDN'T rush out of town. Instead they took over the saloon, sat down at some tables and gave orders and threats and killed some as examples, for an extended period of time. It made some sense to me. The townsfolk were not soldiers or gunmen. They didn't want to die, so they didn't fight back.
Two, when the posse came across one fatally wounded outlaw (Van Cleef), he lie on the ground telling them that they had a duty to care for his wounds, but Murphy said they couldn't spare a man to take Van Cleef back to town or to tend to him on the spot, so they had to leave him to die there.
Three, most Westerns would end with the death of the last outlaw, but not this one. After the last outlaw is killed, Murphy carries John Saxon (good as a posse member) a few miles back to town in triumph to be congratulated. But the film refuses to end there. There is a lot of talk about the dead marshal who had recommended bad boy gunfighter Murphy for the job, about Murphy possibly becoming the new marshal and talk with the girl (Zohra Lampert, a favorite of everyone) about her future.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Audie Murphy fan or not, one needs no other reason to watch this
Western than to catch all the cool supporting players. Not all of them
are on screen much or last very long, but there's a bit of a who's who
list of veteran character actors in the bunch, guys like Harry Lauter
(the first to go actually in an early violent scene), Royal Dano, Lee
Van Cleef, Ray Teal, Rocky Lane and I. Stanford Jolley among the cast
list. And that's without even mentioning the great support from John
Saxon, Vic Morrow and Rodolfo Acosta.
This one has Murphy in the role of a conflicted hero. I'd be curious to know how many times he appeared in films as a villain and as a good guy; he seemed to pop up in these B Westerns on both sides of the law as it were. One thing I thought the story could have done a better job with was with Cole Banner's (Murphy) back story, as we're given some sort of a hint by the dying Sheriff Webb (Ward Ramsey), but those details never materialize.
Leading a rag-tag posse in pursuit of four bank robbers from the town of Paradise, Banner takes some meager satisfaction in acknowledging that most of it's members aren't worth their salt. Probably the best element of the story deals with elite New York banker Kern (Saxon) and Indian guide Johnny Caddo (Acosta) proving their worth out on the trail, while hell bent for leather gunslinger Wiley (Paul Carr) freezes up during his very first, real live gunfight. That was a tough exit for Wiley.
There's also the uncomfortable theme of rape occurring off screen that provides moments of angst for Helen Caldwell (Zohra Lampert), kidnapped by the Crip Gang and left to fend for herself in the desert. Desperate to the point of suicide over her fate, Banner manages to convince her to return to Paradise and deal with her abuse constructively. I was relieved the story didn't try to take her relationship with Banner in the direction of a romance, it would have been all wrong for the dynamic of the picture.
Over all I'd rate this as one of Audie Murphy's better Western efforts, a notch below my personal favorite, "No Name on the Bullet". The one you really need to see though is his true life story depicted in 1955's "To Hell and Back", depicting Murphy's World War II service. As far as this picture goes, it seems to me there was one plot element left dangling at the end of the story, and that would be - how did Johnny Caddo's body make it back to Paradise for burial in the town cemetery?
Audie Murphy Over John Wayne Any Day. Real Life War Hero Audie Murphy
was an Admired Man who was Brave, Courageous, and True. He Admitted
that Acting was a Battle He Never Won. With a Likable Screen Persona He
Soldered through a Career including many a Western. This was One of His
A Solid Cast of B-Movie Actors, Striking Color Cinematography, more Violent than usual for the Time, some Truly Good vs Evil Characters, and Philosophical Musing make this an Above Average Entry in the Wagonload of Westerns in the Time Period (1950-Early 1960's).
It's a Grueling Task for the Make-Shift Posse on the Trail of some Hideous Bad-Guys lead by Vic Morrow and Lee Van Cleef. Audie and John Saxon reach Deep for some Soul Searching and the Ever Elusive, Nasty and Clever Outlaws show some Serious Signs of the Change about to Occur in Hollywood.
A Must See for Western Fans, especially Audie Murphy Cultists. The Story is well told and as Entertaining as All Get Out as these things go. This is one that the Most Decorated Military Hero in History can be Proud.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Most Audie Murphy Westerns are OK, with a basic plot and very average
cast, but PFH is better than average. There were lots of familiar faces
in the cast, even though I couldn't put names to all of them without
checking. Two were slightly out of character: Ray Teal as a banker and
John Saxon as a tenderfoot. Lee van Cleef in an early role didn't have
much to do before expiring, but his villainous persona was evident.
I was impressed with the way that gunshots propelled their victims backward, in contrast to the dignified collapse so often seen in Westerns,but PFH maintained the other irritating tradition of men -in this case the posse - riding off for what was obviously a very long ride with no apparent provisions.
I've always had this slight problem with Audie in that he doesn't actually look a tough guy (yes, I do know about his fantastic war record)and Randolph Scott or Burt Lancaster would have been more authentic, judging from some of their hatchet-faced portrayals of unforgiving avengers.
The only really weak point was the twee and unconvincing romantic ending.
|Page 1 of 2:|| |
|Plot summary||Ratings||External reviews|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|