Brendan O'Malley arrives at the Mexican home of old flame Belle Breckenridge to find her married to a drunkard getting ready for a cattle drive to Texas. Hot on O'Malley's heels is lawman ... See full summary »
This movie was the first role for James Stacy following his 1973 motorcycle accident in which he was hit by a drunk driver, resulting in the loss of his left arm and left leg. Kirk Douglas created the role especially for Stacy. See more »
US Senators were not directly elected at the time of the film's setting. They were appointed by State Legislatures until the 17th Amendment in 1913. See more »
[to Howard Nightingale]
Honest men stay honest only as long as it pays. That's why I'm a thief and you're a liar.
See more »
I've Been Working on the Railroad
The first line is sung during Nightingale's speech See more »
One thing about Kirk Douglas is that he's never been afraid to let the public see him as a bad guy. It's a great tribute to his ability as an actor to develop such a wide range of characters from the heroic Spartacus to the villainous George Brougham in The List of Adrian Messenger.
Posse falls somewhere in the middle of those two films in terms of the good versus evil scale for Kirk Douglas. Politicians running on "law and order" platforms were just coming into vogue at the time and this western is spot on about those kind of politicians and the motivations behind them.
Kirk Douglas is a U.S. Marshal with political ambitions to be a United States Senator. He's got his photographer with him to record his exploits and travels on a private railroad car provided by the railroad.
He's on the trail of outlaw Jack Strawhorn, played by Bruce Dern. Before capturing Strawhorn, Douglas and his posse burn alive Dern's gang in a barn fire and then butcher another group of misfits he's put together even as they want to surrender.
What I like most about Posse is that it doesn't try to make Dern out any kind of a hero. He's an outlaw the way some people are grocers, bakers, shoemakers, etc. This may very well have been Bruce Dern's best screen role.
It turns out that Dern is a far better judge of human nature than the fatuous Douglas is. The town of Tesota, Texas where most of the action takes place is very much sadder and wiser when the film concludes.
A lot of the same themes are covered in the more acclaimed The Unforgiven with Clint Eastwood who also starred and directed himself. But I think Kirk Douglas got there first.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?