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A Man Alone (1955)
Unusual Western but good actors and has a decent plot, too.
Ray Milland's early career was in mostly light romantic fluff but he did have Oscar success in The Lost Weekend. He and Ginger Rogers were fun in The Major And The Minor. He was properly creepy in Dial M For Murder. His later years were lost in terrible monster flicks and bit parts. In the midst of the lousy movies, he did make a Western that stood out. This one. He was actually pretty good in it and as his directorial debut it wasn't bad either. It's a shame that the director's best assets weren't better utilized. He kept one of my very favorite character actors in bed for most of the movie (Ward Bond) and Raymond Burr isn't on screen long enough for my liking. This role was one of many villains that Burr so splendidly played for many years until we see him as Perry Mason in 1957. Another great bad guy that gets some close-ups is Lee Van Cleef. In the 60's and 70's, we'll see lots of him in many Leone or Gemma "spaghetti" Westerns. His face says so much without saying a word.....an absolute necessity when you don't speak Italian. I guess that's why Eastwood did so well in spaghetti Westerns...he wasn't much of an actor back then. In this movie, Ray Milland plays an aging gunfighter (he's on foot) who comes upon the murdered victims of a stagecoach holdup. He rides one of the the stagecoach horses into town to get help. The nervous deputy (a younger Alan Hale, Jr) is summoned (after seeing Milland ride in on the stagecoach horse) and shoots at Milland as he dismounts. Milland shoots back and wounds the deputy. Thereafter, they hunt for him high and low and block all exits out of town. Milland unknowingly takes refuge in the sick sheriff's home (under quarantine) where his daughter is nursing him back to health. The scenes between Milland and the sheriff's daughter are well done. The outcome is not decided until the final minutes of the movie. It's a good movie for Ray Milland fans and if you like good bad guys and good character actors...this is a good one for you, too.
House of Sand and Fog (2003)
Excellent performances, strong story, riveting. This story would not work without Ben Kingsley. His characterization delivers complexity, strength and intelligence. This movie was well cast and certainly finds a way to touch a cord in everyone. The director did show a light touch where necessary but put the actors through their paces as the story unfolds. This is not light entertainment. It's about the human condition and how people find a way to cope with adversity..........or not. Better have a box of tissues because you will need it by the end of the movie. They want one more line out of me and it's proving tough. Hope this does it. I recommend this movie to anyone. The performances alone are worth it. Guarantee you that you will not walk away from this one without an opinion.