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Shirley Anne Field
Nevada Smith is the young son of an Indian mother and white father. When his father and mother are killed by three men over gold, Nevada sets out to find them and kill them. The boy is taken in by a gun merchant. The gun merchant shows him how to shoot, to shoot on time, and to shoot straight. Everything that Nevada does goes to killing those three men. He learns to read and write just to learn their location. He pays people to tell him where they're at. He even goes to prison to kill one of them. While the movie is a Western and has plenty of action, it also takes a deep look into vengeance and how one can change after a haunting incident. Written by
Chase Ard <Bullitt357@aol.com>
Loni Anderson, best known for her role as the buxom blonde secretary "Jennifer Marlowe" on the long-running TV series WKRP in Cincinnati (1978), can be seen in a bit part as a brunette. She's one of the dance hall girls who greets the cowboys upstairs at the hotel while they're cleaning up for a night on the town. She asks one of them, "What's your name? Walter? Hello, Walter." See more »
When the cowboys are herding cattle at the ranch/rail yard, there are several modern box cars in the background. They are of steel construction with modern US Department of Transportation identification codes that did not exist during the era depicted by this film. See more »
[watching Smith down a whiskey]
Hell of a way to begin a day, ain't it?
Well, I ain't cryin' about it; why should you?
If ever you could, it'd add 20 years to your life. Yeah, maybe somebody else's.
See more »
A respectable entry in the annals of the best Westerns..
Henry Hathaway was a versatile director whose Westerns have been as variable in quality as his other films...
Hathaway's best Westerns have all come in the fifties, beginning with the very credible 'Rawhide,' with Tyrone Power, and continuing with 'Garden of Evil,' the highly enjoyable burlesque 'North to Alaska,' most of 'How the West Was Won,' 'The Sons of Katie Elder,' 'Five Card Stud,' and 'True Grit.'
Hathaway's strong points are atmosphere, character and authentic locations... The little known 'From Hell to Texas' is quoted by those who have seen it as Hathaway's best Western on these three counts, a film directed with profound feeling for the deliberate pace and loneliness of the real West...
'Nevada Smith' is actually a strong and revealing study of the regeneration of one man... The film makes an excellent double bill with Marlon Brando's sole effort as director, 'One-Eyed Jacks.'
'Nevada Smith' is an exciting premise, taught and tight... It is not a motion picture to dismiss or forget... It is one of the first films to apply the contemporary standards of sex and violence to an Old West setting... The film is based on a story by John Michael Hayes, two-time Academy Award nominated screenwriter for 'Rear Window,' and 'Peyton Place.'
The film lingers in the mind because of its visual beauty and the intensity of some of its scenes, particularly between McQueen and Malden, two knowing actors playing together with the skill of champion chess players...
Hathaway sets up his atmosphere of dramatic tension right at the start... With a horse, a rifle, and 8 dollars, McQueen is a half-white teen-aged whose only desire is to hunt down his parents vicious killers... All helpless, he vows to dispatch the three 'bravados' one by one... He even gets himself thrown into prison just to gun one of them down...
With the help of a gun merchant (Brian Keith), McQueen learns how to shoot a gun and sets out the chase where the money is... He rides off alone, blinded by a compulsion that obscures his other motive for living: 'I don't see nothing, except my father laying on a covered-floor all burnt and cut with the top of his head blown to pieces, and my mother split up in the middle and every square inch of her skin ripped off.'
Steve McQueen recreates the type of role he had played in 'Wanted: Dead or Alive.' He is effective in his hesitant, self-conscious way, eager to be a firm gunfighter and almost as inept... He has little more sense of character than Ladd in Edward Dmytryk's 'The Carpetbaggers' but has a tension which made the film interesting to watch...
Brian Keith is excellent as the father figure who adopts McQueen... He is sincere in warning the young avenger that in order to catch and kill these men, he will have to comb out every saloon, gambling hall, hog farm and whorehouse, and become just as despicable as they are... Keith comes out a star with his quiet, sure, graceful underplaying... As he instructs McQueen, it was clear that he knows not only his guns but human nature..
Suzanne Pleshette, standing knee deep in water, is the pretty girl, able to escape from the terrors of her environment into the poetry of her reveries... Both a sinner and a saint, Pilar adds humanity to Max world...
With a knife in his hand, and a scar on his neck, Martin Landau is the psychotic womanizer, a morose, evil character, caught in Abelene dealing cards in a saloon...
Arthur Kennedy - friendly, smiling, charming and smooth-talking on the surface, weak and corrupt underneath - is the frightened villain swamped by a storm of revenge...
Karl Malden is the cynical badman who depreciates his gold before his executioner...
Raf Vallone is the good priest who wants his young avenging hunter to take a deep look into his heart...
Pat Hingle is the prisoner in custody with gun and whip, who takes great pleasure and delight in breaking his companions by beating them up...
Howard da Silva is the ruthless warden who assures his prisoners that the swamp is their wall... Miles and miles of it, filled of dirty water, quicksand, razorbacks, poison snakes, mosquitoes and malaria...
Janet Margolin is the dance hall girl uncertain of the identity of one of the dangerous murderers...
Joanna Cook Moore is the grateful saloon girl who offers herself to Max...
Rick Roman is Cipriano, the bandit who warns seriously his companion not to harm Father Zaccardi...
Ted de Corsia is the bartender who wants the two contenders to calm down in order to find out the truth..
The expertise before the cameras and behind it, plus McQueen's dynamic presence, makes 'Nevada Smith' a respectable entry in the annals of the best Westerns...
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