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The Capture (1950)

A badly injured fugitive explains to a priest how he came to be in his present predicament.


John Sturges


Niven Busch

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Complete credited cast:
Lew Ayres ... Vanner
Teresa Wright ... Ellen
Victor Jory ... Father Gomez
Jacqueline White ... Luana
Jimmy Hunt ... Mike
Barry Kelley ... Mahoney
Duncan Renaldo ... Carlos
William Bakewell ... Tolin
Milton Parsons ... Thin Man
Frank Matts ... Juan
Felipe Turich Felipe Turich ... Valdez
Edwin Rand Edwin Rand ... Tevlin


Badly injured and hunted by the police, Lin Vanner takes refuge in a priest's home, and tells him what has happened. When Vanner was working in a Mexican oil field, he captured a man who was suspected of a payroll robbery, but then felt responsible when the man died in police custody. As a result of the incident, Vanner's fiancée broke off their engagement, and he resigned from his job. He later felt compelled to visit the dead man's widow, and ended up working on her ranch. But, as he now explains to the priest, the past has quickly caught up with him. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Another VIOLENT STORY by the author of "DUEL in the SUN" See more »


Crime | Drama | Western


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

8 April 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Daybreak See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Rico Alaniz. See more »

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User Reviews

The Capture – a psychological melodrama set among the Mexican badlands
25 August 2006 | by RJBurke1942See all my reviews

The director, John Sturges, is remembered for westerns – Gunfight at the OK Corral, The Magnificent Seven, Last Train from Gun Hill etc – and The Capture has a touch of that genre as the movie opens with Lew Ayres on the run from the Mexican Federales somewhere in those dark Mexican hills.

The story is interesting on three levels: first, it has a Freudian element with Lew Ayres (playing an ex-oilman, Lin Vanner) suffering from a guilt complex, one that he acquired after killing, in haste, a man he thought was responsible for a payroll robbery; second, it's also a "whodunit" as Lin eventually tries to find out who really did steal the payroll; and third, the story is written by Niven Busch who also wrote the screenplay for Pursued, another psychological western which also starred Teresa Wright (and Robert Mitchum) in 1947.

If you've seen Pursued, then you'll know that movie was photographed in very stark black and white – and a lot of it at night. This film follows that same format but, in my opinion, it was not done as well as the former movie. However, it's still good to look at.

Lin Vanner tells the story mostly in flashback, while he rests at the house of a priest – and as he waits for the police to catch up with him. As stories go, it's somewhat pedestrian and predictable, but it does attempt to present for the viewer a very troubled man's need to resolve the doubts he has about personal motivation, integrity and courage. I'd seen Lew Ayres in other films, notably All Quiet on the Western Front, but I felt that other actors would have been better cast; somehow, his rendition of the character just didn't seem to be tough enough to carry on. Robert Mitchum would have been appropriate in the role, I think. Teresa Wright (as Ellen Tevlin), on the other hand, gave another competent performance as the embittered widow of the man, Sam Tevlin, whom Lin Vanner had killed. (Perhaps the studio thought it was too much to have Teresa Wright and Robert Mitchum in another psychological western so soon after Pursued?)

It was great to see Duncan Renaldo (as Carlos) appear, however briefly; and, once again, Barry Kelley (as Earl Mahoney) turns up as one of the heavies that Lin Vanner must face in order to solve the puzzle and salve his conscience. And, in a surprise turnout, there's Victor Jory (one of Hollywood's long-time great character actors) as the sympathetic priest (Father Gomez) and sounding board for Lin Vanner's recounting of his miseries. I'd seen Victor Jory, in other movies, mostly as a bandit, an Indian, a hard-nosed Mexican cattleman, a cop and such like, so the role of priest was definitely different for him, but a role that he (under) played with consummate skill.

For movie buffs and Sturges fans, I'd recommend this movie. If you're bored and you want to while away ninety minutes or so, you could do much worse.

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