On America's frontier, a St. Louis woman marries a New Mexico cattleman who is seen as a tyrant by the locals.On America's frontier, a St. Louis woman marries a New Mexico cattleman who is seen as a tyrant by the locals.On America's frontier, a St. Louis woman marries a New Mexico cattleman who is seen as a tyrant by the locals.
It's the script, silly!
Why do I get the feeling some folks know little about Spencer Tracy? For example, Kazan's alleged quote of "Tracy did not like horses and horses did not like Tracy either" (per Ciment's book). Excuse me, but how could a man who loved to play polo, which Tracy did and did a lot in his younger days and against studio wishes, not like horses? I've played polo and if you don't like horses (and they don't like you) you won't be playing the game more than once or twice. Maybe the quote was made for the more obvious reason: to justify Kazan turning out a movie that was below his abilities? If true that one of Kazan's excuses for the painful experience of directing the movie was not filming on location, I can't totally disagree, but then again a good many great films were not filmed on location, so this excuse only holds so much water. And how can one think that the movie is a "cattlemen vs. homesteaders" film? That's the setting, and it is the trigger of the conflict between the main characters, which leads to the betrayal, which is the center piece of the story, but that certainly isn't the movie. I grant you, it's not one of Tracy's best, but he does the best he can with the lame Marguerite Roberts' script. Even if this movie had been shot on location, it doesn't change the glaring fact that a bad script is still a bad script. If you believe Tracy was sleepwalking, then you have to also believe Kazan was on life support and Roberts was dead, from the neck up, while scripting this one. If Tracy's at fault for anything, it's for trying to save the film, which is more than it deserved.
- Jul 27, 2009
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