6.9/10
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35 user 16 critic

Blood on the Moon (1948)

Unemployed cowhand Jim Garry is hired by his dishonest friend Tate Riling as muscle in a dispute between homesteaders and cattleman John Lufton.

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

Lillie Hayward (screenplay), Harold Shumate (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Mitchum ... Jim Garry
Barbara Bel Geddes ... Amy Lufton
Robert Preston ... Tate Riling
Walter Brennan ... Kris Barden
Phyllis Thaxter ... Carol Lufton
Frank Faylen ... Jake Pindalest
Tom Tully ... John Lufton
Charles McGraw ... Milo Sweet
Clifton Young Clifton Young ... Joe Shotten
Tom Tyler ... Frank Reardon
George Cooper ... Fred Barden
Tom Keene ... Ted Elser (as Richard Powers)
Bud Osborne ... Cap Willis
Zon Murray ... Nels Titterton
Robert Bray ... Bart Daniels
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Storyline

When a shady-looking stranger rides into town to join his old friend it is assumed he is a hired gun. But as the new man comes to realise the unlawful nature of his buddy's business and the way the homesteaders are being used, the two men draw apart to become sworn enemies. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When there's BLOOD ON THE MOON...death lurks in the Shadows! (original 3-sheet poster) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 November 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Nacht in der Prärie See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Walter Brennan, an Old West aficionado and historian, saw Robert Mitchum walk onto the set in costume said, "that is the goddamnest realest cowboy I've ever seen!" See more »

Quotes

Jim Garry: I've seen dogs that wouldn't claim you for a son, Tate.
See more »

Connections

Featured in John Wayne Made Me Cry: Our Western Heros (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
When There's Blood on the Moon...Death Lurks in the Shadows
18 June 2006 | by krorieSee all my reviews

This is perhaps the greatest of the noir westerns. Director Robert Wise had been in charge of the mythical "The Curse of the Cat People," not a sequel to the horror classic, "Cat People," as the studio expected, rather a fantasy film highlighting the imagination of a little girl.

Working with darkness and shadows emphasizing the mood of the picture makes "Blood on the Moon" seem gloomy and pessimistic, but actually the film is more about the redemption of a hopelessly lost cowboy, Jim Garry (Robert Mitchum), who finds meaning in life through the love of a woman, also named Amy (Barbara Bel Geddes) as was the little girl in "The Curse of the Cat People." The opposite of Jim Garry is his so-called pal, Tate Riling (Robert Preston). Rather than redemption, Riling falls deeper and deeper into the maelstrom of depravity, murder, and deception. Even his romance with Amy's sister, Carol Lufton (Phyllis Thaxter), is a treacherous, deceitful one. Riling uses Carol for his advantage, at times against her own family, while she is truly in love with him. Riling has few redeeming qualities and is bad through and through. The relationship between the two, Riling had actually invited Garry to join him, knowing what an expert he was with a gun, is the crux of the film. The story about the feud between the homesteaders, pawns for Riling, and the ranchers is a superficial one. Character studies make the movie worthwhile.

Walter Brennan as Kris Barden, a homesteader fooled by Riling for awhile, has a pivotal role showing how Riling's double dealings and egomania eventually catch up with him and destroy him. "One may smile, and smile, and be a villain" only so long. Barden is a counterpart to Garry's character. Frank Faylen, as Indian agent Jake Pindalest, in collusion with Riling's schemes for self-aggrandizement, on the other hand represents a counterpart to Riling's character.

The title is one of the best ever for a western. Supersitition has it that when there is blood on the moon (a particular atmospheric appearance of the moon), it's a sign that someone is going to be killed. When I was a boy one of my friend's dads operated a movie theater. He had accumulated a closet full of movie posters over the years. One day he was cleaning out his closets and asked me if I wanted the old posters. I eagerly latched on to them. Two posters impressed me above all the others. One was " The Grapes of Wrath" poster; the other was the "Blood on the Moon" one. Something about those titles and the art work on the posters grabbed my mind and my imagination. I didn't get to see either film for many years, eventually seeing them on TV. To me the magic of the posters matched the magic of the movies.


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