In India during WWII, a US officer confesses the murder of a UK officer. A military veteran is appointed to defend him. Everything looks simple, until he starts investigating the ... See full summary »
A peace-loving man named Ben Kane takes a job as deputy marshal of Lords, in the old West. Kane is no lawman, but he accepts the badge because he has an old score to settle with the town's ... See full summary »
Robert Walker Jr.
Marshal Flagg, an aging lawman about to be retired, hears that his old nemesis, the outlaw McKaye, is back in the area and planning a robbery. Riding out to hunt down McKaye, Flagg is ... See full summary »
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Harker Flet and compatriots Timothy X. Nolan and Katy, along with three other men, steal $40,000 in money and jewelry from a California train in the gold-mining country of the 1880's. The ... See full summary »
In the mid-19th century, Senator William J. Tadlock leads a group of settlers overland in a quest to start a new settlement in the Western US. Tadlock is a highly principled and demanding taskmaster who is as hard on himself as he is on those who have joined his wagon train. He clashes with one of the new settlers, Lije Evans, who doesn't quite appreciate Tadlock's ways. Along the way, the families must face death and heartbreak and a sampling of frontier justice when one of them accidentally kills a young Indian boy. Written by
In 1956 Hecht-Hill-Lancaster productions announced plans to film "The Way West." It was to be adapted by Clifford Odets and was to star Burt Lancaster, James Stewart, and hopefully Gary Cooper. That version was not made. See more »
When Mercy jumps off a moving wagon train and rolls down a hill, pioneers are headed in one direction. By the time she starts climbing back up the hill to rejoin them, they are suddenly heading in opposite direction. See more »
[Mercy flirts silently with Brownie]
Best not be lookin', Brownie.
I ain't lookin'... as hard as I can.
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Epic western spoilt by trying to cram too much into its running time
The Way West is an epic western, but unlike another epic western How the West Was Won, it isn't a very good film. The main problem here is that the script writers and the director have got carried away, and have tried to cram far too many events and subplots into the two hour running time.
The main plot thread follows an ambitious and cruel visionary named William Tadlock (Kirk Douglas), who dreams of taking hundreds of people into the vast, unexplored wilderness of the Wild West and starting up a new town. His ambition is an obsession. It drives him and dictates his every move. Even his own family come second in his list of priorities. During the journey, his behaviour towards the other pioneers becomes increasingly irrational and unsympathetic, and in the end he loses the respect of his fellow travellers.
There are some good moments in the film. The climax is really surprising, with a twist that few viewers will predict. Sally Field has some interesting scenes as a young girl who undergoes a sexual awakening during the trip. There's also a well done scene in which a man who has killed an Indian child by accident is hanged. However, the abundance of plot threads, characters and subplots is a big drawback. The makers should have concentrated on a few elements and done them really thoroughly, instead of cramming in so much and only dealing with the themes in a shallow and all-too-brief fashion. This is not bad, I suppose, but it could have been oh so much better.
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