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A Shoshone Indian and decorated veteran of the American Civil War returns to Wyoming in the Civil War's aftermath. When he comes back there are significantly more white settlers and they are keenly interested in his prime valley land on which to graze their sheep. Robert Taylor is not your first choice as the Shoshone, but he did a remarkable portrayal of the character, who is Indian with deep ties to both the Shoshone nation and the United States, for which he fought and was decorated. In fact this film relates his fight for the Shoshone cause as he finds his identity as citizen of the United States stripped from him and thus his legal right to own his own land. Directed by Anthony Mann and filmed by Mann's legendary cinematographer John Alton in black and white, this turns out to be a western superior perhaps even to Mann's classic Winchester 73.
The feeling gnaws at Jake Wade's (Robert Taylor) innards that he has to repay his debt to Clint Hollister (Richard Widmark) by breaking him out of jail because Hollister had once done the same for him. By now Wade is a marshal while Hollister, as played by Widmark, is a committed outlaw. For sure this film is headed for an inevitable standoff between the two but the journey the film makes along the way adds a lot to its final destination. Henry Silva as Rennie, one of Hollister's men, plays a twisted part that threatens Peggy, Wade's fiancé (Patricia Owens), while Robert Middleton's Otero and Deforest Kelley's Wexler add to the contrast between Taylor's redeemed outlaw character who, by evening his account with Hollister, now must find his way back to respectability in this far above average western directed by John Sturges, who throws in a great Indian attack set in an abandoned town that alters the balance of power and makes dramatic use of spears and arrows.
Jeff Clanton (Robert Ryan) a major in the Union army, captures the remnants of the Quantrill Raiders which include the James brothers as well as the Youngers. Clanton is disposed to let them all go if they take an oath of allegiance, but Mathew Fowler (Robert Preston), the head of the Fowler Detective Agency, a private law enforcement outfit that protects the moneyed interests, has his eyes set on the impressive rewards each of the "badmen" has accrued, setting up what looks to be a pretty good story when Ryan is arrested and faces hanging. He sides with the "badmen" against Fowler, who seems to represent the emerging new order. Claire Trevor, who is supposed to be a saloon girl, is actually married to Fowler, but falls for Clanton. Her character makes zero sense. The movie makes less and less sense as it goes along and even the great Robert Preston can't save it, though he's always worth watching. The RKO Technicolor department seems to have altered the values a little, coming up with some interesting scenes as the evenings fade into darkness. Should have been better given the story.
Exorcist II the Heretic presents a vividly colorful travelrama to Africa in order to ascertain what exactly happened to Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow) of the original Exorcist. This version features a sort of anthropological element to arrive at the source of the evil demon that still lurks inside Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair). It's way out of the range of her well-intentioned psychiatric professional (Louise Fletcher), who employs a device known as a synchronizer that locks the two minds together in order to return to the room on the night Merrin dies. The Catholic cardinal Paul Henreid dispatches father Philip Lamont (Richard Burton) to finally close the case on this incident of demonic possession after a stunning opening to the movie in swirling visual detail that introduces the viewer to the style that somehow lifts this film to an unexepected level of borderline greatness for its overall bizarreness.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When the first officer of an ocean liner (James Mason) finally gets a chance to captain his own ship it turns out to be the one on which crew members Broderick Crawford and Stuart Whitman are plotting to kill the ship's entire crew and somehow collect a million dollars in insurance. Entirely claustrophobic setting of the ship goes well with the plan to kill everyone. The overall sense of cold-blooded cruelty is a natural fit for Crawford, but Stuart Whitman's character turns out to possess a surprising degree of sliminess. How the great James Mason deals with this is but one of the great aspects of this under-appreciated masterpiece. Dorothy Dandridge, the cook's attractive wife, should have never been on the ship in the first place, but her presence is just another bit of the film's overall audacity and quality.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
So everyone is angry because they didn't find out who Negan killed? Folks, this isn't a movie with an ending. It's a TV show.It does not have an ending. It's a series. Each episode makes its own contribution to the overall success or failure of the SERIES.This episode deserves consideration on its merits. It terminates season six with Rick's and the group's utter defeat and humiliation. That's the significance of the episode, not who Negan killed. People should complain about what's in the show, not what's not. What was in it was great. Full of action, intensity, extreme crisis. I don't care who Negan killed. I'll find out in October.
In 1863 Confederate soldiers are prisoner at Fort Bravo, a Union fort out in Arizona, where Mescalero Apaches are waging a war to defend their land. The fort is not well-garrisoned because there isn't much chance of an escape from Fort Bravo given the Mescaleros and the inhospitable desert setting. The movie has some good actors in William Holden and Eleanor Parker, but the story in which their characters operate does not do much for the western genre. However, there are excellent action scenes when the actual escape takes place with Mescalero arrows raining down from the sky. An improbable dance for the fort's officers and ladies seemed like they felt as if they had to do this to give the film some unnecessary and out of place social context in which to balance out the rugged western landscape. And the nagging and preposterous romantic subplot between Holden and Eleanor Parker waters down the action considerably. Plus everyone was exceptionally well-dressed for the setting they're in makes the whole affair look even more dubious. They may have acted well enough but they didn't have enough desert dust on them. Good thing for the well-executed Apache arrow attack or this film would have been totally borderline.
After a vicious Indian attack on a ranch in which the women are raped and killed and a young girl is left in a state of shock, the scene shifts to Fort Canby, under the command of Richard Boone. Unfortunately, this is not one of Boone's better movies. A lot of the blame, almost all of it perhaps, goes to the lines the actors have to somehow make sound real. That task turns out to be virtually impossible. The best part is the debate over which Indians, the Apaches or the Comanches, actually carried out the raid. Luana Patton takes top honors as the center of George Hamilton's and James Douglas's attention. Douglas, the ranking junior officer leads a small squad of soldiers out to track the Indians, setting in motion the central action sequences which culminates in a borderline ridiculous cavalry-Indian fight, somewhat saved by the arrows falling on some of the soldiers. However, life in the fort turns out to be a bit more interesting than the action outside of the walls.
A strange film about Confderate escapees led by George Hamilton, chased by a troop of Union mounted infantry led by Glenn Ford, with Ford's fiancé, Inger Stevens, a captive of the Confederates. Max Baer stands out as a crazed sadistic killer under Hamilton's command. Set somewhere out in southwestern Texas as the Civil War is ending, actually ends during the film, these guys carry on the fight into Mexico. There is no excuse for the idiotic editing that disjoints the whole thing, but overall it's fair to better-than-fair as a 60s violent-type western with serious sexual undertones, thanks to Inger Stevens and her part. Maybe not Phil Karlon's best film, but sets the situation of revenge over Stevens pretty well. None of the characters seem to act as if they believe in what they're saying, a definite drawback, but the cinematography is captivating and the take on the Civil War is one-of-a-kind.
The poor police detectives that populated the film noirs of the early 1950s. Their suits were rumpled and they lived on whatever pittance the departments paid them. Edmond O'Brien pretty much owns the stereotype in Shield For Murder, which he also co-directed, a film that takes "hard-hitting" to new heights of violence, most notably in a scene where he pistol-whips the holy crap out Claude Aikens, who plays an enforcer for the local underground crime boss. O'Brien's character had either gradually gotten fed up with his lousy pay or was always on the take, but either way, his murder of a numbers runner and "liberation" of the $25,000 he was carrying, opens this film onto a unique level of tawdry bleakness only made possible by the lesser studios, like the one from which this highly recommended film emerged. Ostensibly, what drives O'Brien's character is a desire to provide the kind of life his girlfriend (Marla English) deserves, a nicely appointed and totally furnished tract house in the suburbs. John Agar, O'Brien's honest partner on the detective division, seems to gradually move in on Marla, coinciding with O'Brien's descent into violent desperation, capped off by a few drinks in a spaghetti bar where he meets incredible looking Carolyn Jones. Everything builds up, well-paced to the end.
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