US Army Sgt.-Major Lance Poole, a Shoshone Indian, returns home from the Civil War a highly decorated war hero, his intention being to live a quiet life on the family farm outside Big Horn in the Wyoming Territory being a cattle rancher. His family has been able to live the dream of eking out a good life off the impoverished reserve where there is little hope of that good life, in the process, while still retaining their traditional ways, being admired by the locals who know him and his family. Things have changed during his time away, anti-Indian legislation enacted in the Territory which has brought many farmers, ranchers and others to the area to homestead, which they are able to do legally on the Pooles' land since the Pooles do not have official title. With lawyer Verne Coolan being an open bigot who would not help any Shoshone even if asked, Lance turns to the only other lawyer in the area for legal advice, he learning on their first meeting that "A. Masters" is Orrie Masters, a...Written by
After an unsuccessful May 1950 press preview, MGM shelved the film. The grim movie was superbly made, but its uncompromising, downbeat story seemed to spell box-office disaster. After the release of the more mainstream Broken Arrow (1950) the following fall, it did get some bottom-of-the-bill bookings in neighborhood grindhouses but did little business and has remained little seen. See more »
During a thunderstorm the lightning and thunder always exactly coincide. This only happens when lightning is directly overhead as light travels faster than sound. Normally there is some lag time after the occurrence of lightning before you hear the thunder. See more »
Drop my body in a deep shaft. Then you must keep this earth always, for I am part of it. An Indian without land loses his soul... and his heart with it. Sweet Meadows is our mother... the earth.
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In Wyoming, Native American Indian and Civil War hero Robert Taylor (as Broken Lance Poole) faces discrimination. When his father appears ready for the "happy hunting ground," Mr. Taylor can't get a doctor because he's an "Injun". White lawyer Louis Calhern (as Verne Coolan) wants to take away the land Taylor inherits. Taylor hires female attorney Paula Raymond (as Orrie Masters) to help and they are mutually attracted. Taylor learns that, as an Indian, he is not a United States citizen and has no right to his own land. Sheepherding homesteader Marshall Thompson (as Rod MacDougall) moves in, and the conflict gets violent...
"Devil's Doorway" opens with some serious reservations about Taylor's portrayal of a Native American. It doesn't help that his make-up shades up inconsistently in different scenes. But, after about thirty minutes, when he's in full "red-skin" dress, Taylor creates an appealing and believable character. Taylor's stoic mid-life screen persona matches the role perfectly, and he responds with one of his best performances. Also lifting this film from the doldrums is director Anthony Mann, who gets photographer John Alton under your skin with some beautifully framed and staged scenes. The "pro-Indian" theme was not new, but had become rare.
******* Devil's Doorway (9/15/50) Anthony Mann ~ Robert Taylor, Paula Raymond, Louis Calhern, Marshall Thompson
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