Two cavalry officers clash over the colonel's daughter at a remote outpost with Indian troubles.Two cavalry officers clash over the colonel's daughter at a remote outpost with Indian troubles.Two cavalry officers clash over the colonel's daughter at a remote outpost with Indian troubles.
After having watched ' Till the End of Time ' ( a masterpiece of film making in my opinion ) I was intrigued by Guy Madison's supposedly ' wooden ' acting, and his visual beauty, to take my chances with ' Massacre River ' and found that he really could act given the chance with complex emotional subject matter. He did so later in the underrated ' Hilda Crane. ' Enough has been said about the subject matter of ' Massacre River ' ( a title unworthy of the content ) except to add that this is a mixed genre film; Film Noir in the West, ambiguous love stories and traditional Western subject matter thrown in. The love stories include a bromance between Rory Calhoun and Guy Madison and Madison's immature passion for two women played by Cathy Downs as the ' good girl ' and the excellent Carole Matthews playing the dubious saloon owner. Thrown into this cauldron of desires is the innocent brother of Cathy Downs with the unfortunate name of Randy played very well by Johnny Sands ( an actor who should have been a star. ) Filmed in black and white, which enhances the Noir feeling, the scenario races along to its ending, and broken hearts are quite literally broken. Made in 1949 it paved the way for the more complex Westerns of the 1950's and should be seen more often than it is. Its low budget adds a grubby feel, appropriate to the content, and despite a certain amount of uncertainty of direction it is rewarding to watch. Plus the factor of it being perfectly cast. I can think of two others who broke the Western mould and they too approached borderline territory; ' Night of the Hunter ' and ' The Fiend Who Walked the West. ' Needless to say they were misunderstood.
- Mar 29, 2022
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