The Duel at Silver Creek (1952) Poster

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Besides, how to handle a six-gun and poker is all I know.
Spikeopath2 February 2011
The Duel at Silver Creek is directed by Don Siegel and co-written by Gerald Drayson Adams and Joseph Hoffman. It stars Audie Murphy, Stephen McNally, Faith Domergue, Susan Cabot and Gerald Mohr. It's a Technicolor production with Irving Glassberg the cinematographer. The music is scored by Hans J. Salter (director Joseph Gershenson) and location for the shoot was spread over four California locations; Ranches Ray Corrigan, Janss Conejo, Iverson and at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park.

A gang of crooks are murdering miners for their gold claims. Luke Cromwell (Murphy) loses his father to the gang and quickly reinvents himself as a gambling gunslinger known as The Silver Kid. Down in Silver City, Marshal Lightning Tyrone (McNally) is determined to bring to justice the claim jumping murderers. But he has a problem, his trigger finger is inoperative after he was shot, thus he can't let the bad guys know he is no longer "Lightning" on the trigger. After witnessing some of The Silver Kid's handy work, Tyrone hires him as a deputy to watch his back as he sets about weeding out the bad in Silver City. Luke is only too happy to help, he wants vengeance for his father's murder. But two ladies in town are to have a big impact on both of their lives, the question is if both men can finally achieve their goals without further loss of life.

Brisk,colourful and highly entertaining Western fare for the undemanding matinée crowd. Forget all hopes of depth and intricate characterisations and expect an action packed shoot em' up instead. Siegel would go on to much bigger things and leave a lasting mark in cinema, here he makes a standard screenplay ping with excitement whilst getting spirited performances out of the cast. One look at the character names gives you a clue to what sort of Western this is: The Silver Kid, Lightning Tyrone, Opal Lacy, Johnny Sombrero, Rat Face Blake, Pop Muzik, Tinhorn Burgess (Lee Marvin in his first credited big screen outing) & Jane Dusty Fargo. Wonderful. Throw in some lovely scenery, Domergue's explosive costumes and the nice pairing of McNally & Murphy, and it's a film that's hard to dislike. Hey! It even comes with a film noir like narration as well.

Don't dwell too long on the dialogue and simplicity of it all, just enjoy it for what it is. Good fun. 6.5/10
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The female of the species is more deadly than the male...
Tweekums26 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This might not be a very long film but it packs plenty of action into its seventy seven minutes! The story opens with an introduction about how a group of claim jumpers are forcing miners to sign over their claims before murdering them. Their latest attack leaves one man dead but his son Luke survives and manages to shoot three of them before his horse is shot from under him. We don't see him again for a little while as the action moves to Silver City where Marshal 'Lightning' Tyrone is setting off with a posse to arrest the claim jumpers; unfortunately he gets shot and wounded. He is taken to the nearest army camp to recuperate and while he is there a survivor of a jumper raid is brought in; this could be their best lead yet but he is murdered by a woman who claimed to have nursing skills. Lightning might be quick on the draw but he doesn't spot that Opal Lacy is a killer; in fact he falls for her almost straight away. When he gets back to Silver City he finds that his elderly deputy has been murdered. He suspects one Johnny Sombrero but Opal's brother gives him an alibi and points the finger out a newcomer called 'The Silver Kid'; The Kid is none other than Luke and the marshal trusts him enough to make him his deputy. The two of them work together to catch the jumpers but their relationship is strained to breaking point when Luke questions the marshal's unquestioning support for Opal.

I was surprised just how much I enjoyed this early Don Siegel film; it shows he knew how to direct action well before his more famous later films even though here he had to work with in the strict rules of the Hayes Code. Audie Murphy was pretty good as Luke 'The Silver Kid' Cromwell as was Stephen McNally who played Marshal 'Lightning' Tyrone; a part at least as important as Murphy's; I can only assume he got lower billing because he was less well known at the time. It wasn't just an actor's film; Actresses Faith Domergue and Susan Cabot did good jobs as the devious Opal Lacy, who is cahoots with the man running the claim jumpers, and the feisty 'Dusty' Fargo respectively. While this isn't a classic it passed an hour and a half (including adverts) when it was on television and even though it is full of action and shooting there is little to make it unsuitable for younger viewers too.
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Fun fast paced western pastiche, with colorful characters and brisk action
amerh26 February 2006
Don Siegel directed a delightful, fast paced, fun western, with tongue firmly in cheek. Audie Murphy isn't half bad as the poker-loving "Silver Kid", dressed in black leather. Featured are several unique characters like "Johnny Sombrero", who wears extravagant clothes, combs his hair up,and of course puts on a large sombrero. The script makes fun of all the western clichés, camping it up while moving the story briskly. Faith Domergue is alluringly devious and mean as the bad girl and love interest. Lee Marvin has a small but remarkable role, and sports a big mustache.

I like the way the straight hero is played for a fool until the end, and his poker playing sidekick gets all the action and glory. Siegel, as usual, excels with the action scenes, but this is not a thriller per say, more a fast paced action romp very similar in style to "The Big Steal", which Siegel directed before this film. I really enjoyed it.
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Excellent early Siegel Western for Murphy Fans
FilmFlaneur28 September 2004
Duel At Silver Creek is a co-starring vehicle for Audie Murphy, the last of the great B-movie western stars, briskly directed by the great Don Siegel. The baby-faced Murphy, who made 46 films in 20 years before dying in a plane crash, was the most decorated soldier of World War II. (In fact the star's appearance can be taken as an ironic comment on visual stereotyping as John Wayne, who looked every inch a hero, avoided the call up entirely.) For the most part Murphy starred in second-rate vehicles with second-rate talent. A few titles have stood the test of time, such as Red Badge Of Courage (1951) or The Unforgiven (1960) both directed by Huston, or Boetticher's fine A Time For Dying (1969), also the actor's last film. By and large, however, Murphy suffered from a bland screen persona which only strong direction and casting could overcome, even if most of his vehicles remain watchable.

Siegel, who went on to direct Dirty Harry (1971) and Charley Varrick (1973) was here at an early stage in his career, but had already made three or four other westerns before this one, his first in colour. Duel At Silver Creek is perhaps the most successful of those so far principally because the director is able to steer events along quickly enough to cover most of the weaknesses inherent in the script, and able to create a cast strong enough to balance out Murphy's presence. It opens as Luke Cromwell and his older partner work a gold claim, only to become the latest victims in a murderous claim-jumping racket. Luke's partner is forced to sign over the property while, after an exciting chase and shootout, Cromwell only narrowly escapes his own abrupt end. Soon he resurfaces as 'the Silver Kid', the baby faced gun-toting gambler, in a town where Marshall 'Lightning' Tyrone is also after the crooks. Chief among the suspects is Johnny Sombrero, a taunting thug who may be in league with the outlaws. The Marshall begins to develop an infatuation with the Opal Lacy (Susan Cabot), sister of the chief villain who by this time has also arrived in town. Meanwhile, handicapped by a wound, Tyrone is forced to turn to the Kid when the existing deputy is shot, and the two form an uneasy partnership.

The above plot summary shows just how clichéd many of the plot points of Silver Creek are. A lot of the film reveals its B-movie origins, perhaps chief of which is the cliché of the crippled lawman. As the Marshall nurses his secret weakness, still hoping the keep the 'indian sign' over the ambitious Sombrero, the obvious irony is his reluctant need for the younger man to come to his aid. To this one might add the over-familiar dichotomy between the woman of the world (Opal) and the good girl (Dusty), the hiding of a key witness in a secret cave, as well as Silver Kid's conspicuous white handled armaments - conventions familiar to those versed in the genre. Despite these commonplace matters, Siegel still manages to turn in one or two striking scenes, such as when the sexually provocative Opal abruptly strangles a wounded man awaiting the doctor (thereby demonstrating the dead end nature of her charms) or when Pop, the original deputy, is shot and left facedown in the rain. Siegel's film has the advantage of co-starring Murphy with Stephen McNally as the Marshall and, after the opening sequence; they more or less spend equal time on screen together. McNally's maturity, both as actor and character, balances out the Kid's inexperience nicely. In particular the older actor's voice-over (a relatively unusual device in an otherwise straightforward western of this sort), places a lot of the action in context, adding an authoritative framework to somewhat flimsy proceedings. It also has the useful advantage of not requiring the Kid to explain himself too often, where a lack of gravitas would be a disadvantage. Several times explicit reference is made to the Murphy's youthful appearance, so at odds with his lethal potential. "He didn't have the face of a killer," says the Marshall on first sight of his ally-to-be, "but I noticed his hands were quick and sure." In fact the Marshall's authoritative voice-over like this, grounding events in descriptive seriousness, relates the film to a genre form that would be very familiar to contemporary viewers: the radio western. (I don't think Murphy ever did a series on air). In radio drama conventions of the period, a single male narrator frequently might 'carry' events by the force of his personality, his voice the sole source of moral judgment.

Dressed in black leather, self conscious and slightly gauche, the Kid's character and his relation to a mature lawman reminds one of 'Mississippi' in Hawk's far superior El Dorado (1966), played by James Caan, or the Ricky Nelson part in the earlier Rio Bravo (1959). These later roles would be better developed, both in their relationship to the older mentor (Wayne, in both cases) as well as the moral intelligence behind a flashy rig. Set up with double guns, reserved although unnervingly assured, the Silver Kid remains two dimensional, a perception that not even his awkward romancing of Dusty can allay. Fortunately, as well as the strong role of the Marshall to distract us, there are some colourful characters further down the cast list. Notable is Johnny Sombrero (played by actor Eugene Iglesias, looking remarkably like a young Sean Penn) - as well as Tinhorn Burgess an already effective Lee Marvin, then currently working his way up through the ranks of B-heavies to future stardom.

Silver Creek remains excellent entertainment, notably in the vivid DVD reincarnation that revels in a crisp colour picture with a range of vivid colours characteristic of 1950s' film stock. Incidentally, modern viewers will relish lines like (on the Marshall's damaged hand) "It's going to be kinda stiff for a while but you need to keep massaging it," as well as (on Opal's coded attractions) "Women like that are likely to a put a man's shooting iron plum out of action." Others will simply want to buy this and hark back to a less cynical period of western production when, with little psychology and angst, the biggest clue to man's intent was the size of his sombrero.
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With beautiful color and too much action, this little Western is nice to watch…
Nazi_Fighter_David18 November 2007
Don Siegel's "Duel at Silver Creek" opens with vicious gang of claim jumpers let by a killer called Rod Lacy (Gerald Mohr) who'd been forcing miners to sign away their claims through fear of torture or death…

These claim jumpers were clever enough not to capture some of the bigger mines where there might be enough men working to put up a fight… Usually they picked on the claims being worked by one or two men… And more defenseless the men were, the better they liked it… Their plan was simple and easy because no one knew who they were…

Since their victims either disappeared, or were found dead, there wasn't anyone who could put their finger on them…

One day, in the Tomahawks, the same gang forced Cromwell's old man to sign over the little claim he had and then they killed him… Luke went after them and managed to get one of them before they shot his horse out from under him…

Then a few miles of Silver City, jumpers moved in and killed an old man who struck it rich… As usual they made a clean getaway but this time they left a trail…

The Marshal of Silver City decided to get up a posse to track them down but the posse lost them in the chase and he took a bullet through his right shoulder… So he was dropped off at the army hospital in Fort Lowell and they went back to town… There Lightning met Opal Lacey who promised "Brown Eyes" she's going to find him a nuisance when he gets back in one week…

Audie Murphy plays Silver Kid/Luke Cromwell… He didn't have the face of a killer but he had the cold steel look of one… His hands are quick and sure…All he knows is how to handle a six-gun and poker…

Faith Domergue plays Opal Lacy, the elegant woman with a secret agenda and a brother who's a mining engineer…

Stephen McNally plays the famous Marshal who wasn't interested in the Kid's poker, but he was interested in the way he handled a six-gun… He needed a right hand and he had the fastest one he ever saw… He didn't see it dangerous to make him his deputy…

Susan Cabot plays Dusty Fargo, the innocent girl who takes care of the Marshal better than many a wife he knows…

Eugene Iglesias plays Johnny Sombrero, the hypocrite man who looks mighty happy about something… maybe for the 'gift' of love he just made that night to prove he'd accomplished it to the girl he wants…
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A good way to waste 80 minutes
Caz196429 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The Dual At Silver Creek is a very entertaining western from the early fifties,the main stars are Stephen Mcnally and Audie Murphy. The story is about a Marshal{Mcnally} who is out to stop a murderous gang who have killed one of his friends and are also terrorising and killing local miners.Because the Marshal has lost the use of his trigger finger he hires the help of a sharp shooter named the Silver Kid{Murphy}.Along the way the marshal has fallen for a classy but treacherous new lady in town named Opal who is really working for the bad men,she makes out she loves the marshal,but we all know different and will he see through her in time? For a B movie Dual At Silver Creek is highly entertaining,its one of those films that id seen years ago as a kid but couldn't remember properly,and viewing it today it actually seems better. Some of the scenes are actually seem quite campy now days especially whenever the bad character Johnny Sombrero and chums appear,and then there's Audie Murphy{who does look very attractive}is dressed in black leather,say no more. I've often read reviews on Audie Murphy films and people often describe his acting as stoic,wooden,bland etc which i think is a bit harsh,{okay he wasn't Bogart or Tracy}but i feel he was competent enough for these sort of films and he more than holds his own in this one, viewed today he doesn't seem any worse than a lot of other actors who by todays standards over acted. One of my favourite scenes in the film is between Murphy and Lee Marvin at a poker table, where Marvin makes some rather insulting and bitchy remarks to Murphy and its really quite funny to watch.You don't see much of Marvin but when you do he more than makes you aware that his in this film he did have a strong screen presence and you wonder why he wasn't given bigger parts earlier on in his career.Faith Domergue is also very good as the treacherous and scheming Opal or Brown Eyes as the marshal calls her. Dual At Silver Creek is a good way to waste about 80 minutes its a fun movie.
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They had one obstacle on their way: The Silver Kid
tmwest23 November 2003
This western is full of excellent action scenes from beginning to end. The color and cinematography are outstanding. Murphy is "The Silver Kid" , a man always ready to draw his guns. Stephen McNally is the sheriff, who cannot be fast on the draw because his hand is hurt, so Audie is helping him. The brawl at the poker table between Murphy and Lee Marvin is one of the best moments. Faith Domergue as the bad girl talks exactly like Marilyn Monroe. Susan Cabot is the good girl, Gerald Mohr is the real bad guy, and Eugene Iglesias is Johnny Sombrero, a bad guy who is not so bad. Don Siegel did quite a good job here, making a very enjoyable film, which together with "The Cimarron Kid" and "Ride Clear of Diablo" are Murphy's best westerns.
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A very basic but fun western
bob the moo16 May 2004
A small western town is surrounded by small mines and areas of land run by their owners. A gang of claim jumpers are forcing the owners to sign their claims over to them but then kill them anyway. When Marshall 'Lightning' Tyrone takes a party after the gang he leaves old timer Dan Music as Deputy of the town. Having failed to find the gang, Lightning returns to find to find that Music has been murdered (shot in the back). Lightning sets out to get to the bottom of the murder and has several suspects already before the deceitful Opal Lacy points him towards Luke Cromwell, known as the Silver Kid. Whenever the Kid proves it could not have been him, Lightning takes him on as a deputy.

I came to this film on the basis of it being Don Siegel's first western and the first film he made in colour. The plot is pretty basic and doesn't live up to the suggestions of the opening – instead becoming rather focused on the actions of a few characters. As such, it works on a B movie level and that is pretty much what I expected it to do. This focused plot is improved by a good range of fun characters – with fancy names and exaggerated characters to match: the tough broad, the kid, the tough sheriff, the old coot etc. All the clichés are here but they are delivered with a slight sense of fun that helps it move smoothly. The colour is good and Siegel's direction is solid enough (although he would do much better later).

Despite top billing on imdb going to Murphy, the real lead here is McNally and he does it well. His sheriff is tough, friendly and it is him we care about when the final shoot out comes. Murphy is good but his character has less meat on it and he has therefore less to do that really sticks in the mind. Domergue is given a good character and she convinces as a sort of Western femme fatale. Cabot has a much more standard role and is less interesting as a result. Aside from Domergue the 'baddies' are fairly unmemorable; when the film started they were tough and violent but eventually we are presented Mohr's words in place of this and it really isn't enough for a fun B-movie.

Despite it's obvious flaws this is a really good fun B-movie western and you'll like it if you view it as such. The plot is basic but enjoyable with plenty of likable characters who are as bright as the Technicolor they are presented in. Siegel's first western is a fun film and should be enjoyed as such – it's far from his best and fans may only come to it because of the significance in his career but it is worth seeing if you're in the mood for this type of film.
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Tyrone's power
dbdumonteil5 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is a very short movie but Don Siegel is that kind of director who can make the best of a 75 minutes film :remember what he did in "invasion of the body snatchers" the remakes of which could not match,in spite of a running time twice as long and a comfortable budget . This is a rather violent movie ,but anyway violence was one of Siegel 's trademarks :"the killers" nearly cut Siodmak's original.The movie begins with a series of murders committed by the claim jumpers in cold blood (including one by a woman!)This woman ,played by Faith Domergue is more original than the others :during the whole movie,the hero was had ;love is blind ,they say.Stephen McNally and Audie Murphy are convincing as is Lee Marvin (who would be scarier in "the killers" ) in a supporting part.
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Audie Murphy plays a cool, fastgun deputy
Wuchakk2 January 2015
"The Duel at Silver Creek" is a 1952 Western starring Stephen McNally and Audie Murphy as a sheriff and green deputy who are trying to track down a murderous gang of claim jumpers. Meanwhile the sheriff pursues a new hottie in town (Faith Domergue) while the deputy is interested in a teenage cutie (Susan Cabot). A 27 year-old Lee Marvin is on hand as one of the possibly shady characters.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this old Western. Murphy is great as the youthful and likable fast-gun and McNally is effective as the sheriff. Domergue is beautiful, but duplicitous and even shockingly evil (e.g. the unexpected strangling scene). Cabot is a joy to watch and it's interesting to see Marvin so young.

The story is interesting with McNally narrating and it easily keeps your attention at only 77 minutes, but what brings my rating down is the roll-your-eyes plot gimmicks (for lack of better word) typical of old Westerns. For instance, the sheriff's bad finger that makes it almost impossible for him to squeeze the trigger of his handgun and how this becomes a big secret. And then there's the way the deputy expertly grazes the sheriff's arm in order to take his place in a fast-draw duel (What if he was off by a couple of centimeters?). If it weren't for these types of lame aspects I'd give "The Duel at Silver Creek" a higher grade.

The locations are good, shot at three California ranches -- Corrigan Ranch, Iverson Ranch and Janss Conejo Ranch – as well as Vasquez Rocks.

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Fast-paced, entertaining and enjoyable
JamesHitchcock28 June 2011
I watched this film when it was recently shown on British television, largely because it was an early work by Don Siegel, at the time an up-and-coming young director, but later to become one of Hollywood's most distinguished directors, responsible for films as good as "Dirty Harry" and "The Shootist". It is a Western of the traditional heroes-and-villains variety. The villains are a gang of claim jumpers whose victims are the local miners. Their method of working is a simple one. They pick on a lone miner, force him to sign over his claim under threat of death, and then kill him anyway so he cannot inform on them. (The film does not point out the obvious hole in the scheme, namely that the claim jumpers will not be able to enforce their rights to the claims they take over in this way without revealing their identities).

The main heroes are the local Marshal and the Silver Kid, a young gambler and gunfighter whose father was one of the claim jumpers' victims and who joins forces with the Marshal to seek his revenge. There are two complicating factors. One is that the Marshal has fallen in love with a young woman named Opal Lacey who is secretly in league with the killers. The other is that the Marshal has been shot in the shoulder, an injury which affects his ability to handle a gun.

The best-known actor in the film is Audie Murphy. He made a few good films, most notably "The Red Badge of Courage", but a lot of his output consisted of routine Westerns. Murphy always seemed to be struggling against two disadvantages. The first was the fact that because he had become well-known to the American public for something other than his acting- he was a much-decorated war hero- he was unable to ditch his odd, feminine-sounding Christian name in favour of something more rugged. The second was his smooth, youthful looks which meant that he was frequently typecast as a callow young greenhorn even when he was in his thirties.

Here, however, Murphy is pretty good as the Kid, a brash and undisciplined but basically decent young man who gradually grows in courage and stature. I would agree with the reviewer who pointed out that the relationship between the Kid and Steve McNally's older, wiser Marshal is similar to that between John Wayne and Ricky Nelson in "Rio Bravo". (I've never seen "El Dorado", the other film he mentions).

"Duel at Silver Creek" is a fairly standard Western. As others have pointed out, its plot- the one about the heroic lawman tackling a gang of bandits- is familiar enough to be called a cliché, although that in itself does not mean that the film itself will be a bad one. After all, some very good Westerns, and at least two great ones ("High Noon" and "Gunfight at the OK Corral") have been based around it. "Duel….." is in nothing like the same class as those two films, but Siegel handles the action well, showing signs of the great director he was to become. It may be a B-movie, but it is a fast-paced, entertaining and enjoyable one. 6/10
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Siegel's First Western Outing Is Good!
zardoz-131 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"Big Steal" director Don Siegel's first western outing, "Duel at Silver Creek," bristles with gunfights galore, posses of dust-raising horsemen, and a hefty body count. Decorated World War II veteran Audie Murphy co-stars with Stephen McNally and Faith Domergue. Lee Marvin lurks on the periphery as a minor supporting character while perennial bad guy Gerald Mohr portrays the chief villain who leads a gang of homicidal henchmen. Friendship, deception, intrigue, and betrayal emerge as the major themes in this briskly-paced, 77-minute, Technicolor, horse opera that doesn't wear out its welcome. "Armored Car Robbery" scenarist Gerald Drayson Adams and "Buccaneer's Girl" scribe Joseph Hoffman have fashioned an interesting sagebrusher that takes advantage of several film noir elements. First, leading lady Faith Domergue is a murderous siren who takes McNally for a ride. Second, the McNally lawman provides the narration and endures the paranoia that comes with getting crippled by a bullet. "Duel at Silver Creek" was among the earliest westerns that used the gimmick of the gunman who had trouble pulling the trigger. This theme would become a convention during the 1950s. Third, the Silver Kid is a black, leather-coat clad trigger-happy gambler out for revenge that the McNally lawman exploits because he cannot reveal his own dark secret without jeopardizing his life. Indeed, while most of the action occurs during the day, a murder takes place at night. Nevertheless, "Duel at Silver Creek" could be classified as a film noir western.

Against a vigorous montage of murder and mayhem, the narrator (Stephen McNally) establishes the conflict in "Duel at Silver Creek." He begins: "For some time there'd been reports about a vicious gang of claim jumpers who'd been forcing miners to sign away their claims through fear of torture or death. The claims were then transferred to one of their own men or were sold to innocent miners who had just arrived in the territory and were looking for new claims to work. These claim jumpers were smart enough not to try to grab some of the bigger mines where there might be enough men working to put up a fight. Usually, they picked on claims being worked by one or two men. And the more defenseless these men were, the better the claim jumpers liked it. Their plan was simple and foolproof, because nobody knew who they were. Since their victims either disappeared, or were found dead, there wasn't anyone who could put their finger on these jumpers. Working a claim became a might dangerous business for any miner because no one knew when or where they'd turn up next." Two miners are shot dead in cold blood by the claim jumpers. Luke Cromwell (Audie Murphy of "Comanche Creek") and his father have just made a gold strike when the claim jumpers ride up for their next foray. "There's enough dust there to blind a man. The jubilant father proclaims, "Looks like we staked one with some pay dirt this time, son!" The father beams with joy. "Now, you can buy all the silver you want. You won't have to go around playing poker for it." Rod Lacey (Gerald Mohr of "Invasion, U.S.A.") sends two men to ambush Luke after he rides away. Luke thwarts the two ambushers.

McNally resumes his narration: "Then old man Tompkins struck it rich a few miles north of Silver City and the jumpers moved in and killed him. As usual, they made a clean getaway, but this time they left a trail I thought we could follow and as I was Marshal of Silver City, I decided to get up a posse to track them down." Marshal Tyrone's mentor, Dan 'Pop' Muzik (Griff Barnett of "Cass Timberlane"), wants to serve as marshal for Tyrone while the marshal is out with the posse. Tyrone leaves him in charge of Silver City. The posse runs down the claim jumpers, but Tyrone catches a slug in his right shoulder. The posse continues their pursuit, while Tyrone recuperates at Fort Lowell. He meets Opal Lacy (Faith Domergue of "Where Danger Lives") before she takes a stage to Silver City. The authorities bring a dying man to Fort Lowell and Opal offers to assist the physician. She sends the wounded Tyrone off on an errand. After the two men leave the man with Opal, she strangles him quickly.

Later, she tells Tyrone that she is heading to Silver City to help her brother, Rod, run his mining business. When Tyrone returns, he learns that Pop was gunned down at night in the back. Immediately, Tyrone suspects the culprit in Pop's murder is a Mexican gunman named Johnny Sombrero (Eugene Iglesias of "The Brave Bulls") who has been a burr under his saddle. Rod provides Johnny with an alibi, and Opal suggests the killer may be the Silver Kid. "They say the Silver Kid is awfully fast with his guns," she warns Tyrone. Instead of arresting the Silver Kid (Audie Murphy), Tyrone deputizes him because he knows that he needs a fast gun to back him up.

Opal strings along Tyrone. They call each other Brown Eyes and Lightning and he falls for him lock, stock and barrel. The Kid and Tyrone have an on-again, off-again relationship because he tries to convince the marshal that Brown Eyes is treacherous. Eventually, Tyrone learns about Brown Eyes' treachery. Initially, Tyrone believes that the Kid betrayed him when he informed Johnny about his inability to pull the trigger. The surprise ending where one of the heroes shoots the other one in the arm is clever, and Siegel and his writers ramrod a lot of exposition down our throats under the circumstances. Although Silver Creek is never seen, one character describes the setting for the finale as located near Silver Creek. Evidently, Universal Studios decided to bank on a sizzling, tell-all title like "Duel at Silver Creek" rather than something like "Duel near Silver Creek." The flavorful dialogue, especially the exchanges between Murphy and McNally, is quite good.
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All Those Homicides, All That Claim Jumping, And Nobody Can Figure It Out?
bkoganbing27 April 2007
The Duel at Silver Creek refers to the place where the final confrontation between the good guys led by Stephen McNally and Audie Murphy and the bad guys headed by Gerald Mohr.

Mohr heads a nasty group of bad guys who go around shooting hard working prospectors after they've signed over their claims. One of them is the father of gunfighter Audie Murphy.

Marshal Stephen McNally is also on their trail, but he's slowed up by a gunshot wound that's left his trigger finger a might unsteady. He turns to Murphy as an ally of convenience.

There's a lot of action in The Duel at Silver Creek even more than the usual Audie Murphy western. Unfortunately it's to cover up some really serious problems with the story.

I don't know about how you would feel, but even to the kid crowd for which this western was clearly intended, when someone shows up with title to those claims it's going to be rather obvious who was behind all the homicides. My guess is that Don Siegel's film got butchered in the editing. In fact you know there's a piece out of it because McNally just all of a sudden shows up in an army hospital being treated for a gunshot wound you never see take place.

Susan Cabot plays the good girl with first a yen for McNally and then for Murphy. Faith Domergue is the bad girl, bad as they come in westerns. She's in cahoots with the bad guys and shamelessly flirts with McNally and young gun Eugene Iglesias while all the time she acts as Mohr's moll in a more modern gangster film style. Domergue has the best role in the film, too bad the film itself is so weak.

Look for Lee Marvin in a small role as one of the outlaw gang, if you're looking at all at The Duel at Silver Creek. Definitely for die-hard Audie Murphy fans.
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Very enjoyable B-Western: colorful, plot moves quickly along, good actors
chipe18 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
For a B-Western, this film is very entertaining. I'm surprised that it is rated --as of today-- only 6.1 at IMDb. What more do they want for a B-Western?

There are quite a few negatives. Worst of all are the terrible clichéd names given to all the characters: Johnny Sombrero, Rat Face, Silver Kid, Tinhorn, Lightning, etc. Worst of all was "Brown Eyes," the name McNally kept calling Domergue. Every time he called her that, my teeth would grind and my eyes would look up in disgust. ... ... ... As bad as the names are, the characters themselves were mostly one dimensional figures, but I guess you have to expect that in a B-movie. Another problem with the characters is that their relationships developed so quickly -- for example, McNally hooking up so quickly with Domergue, and Murphy so quickly agreeing to become a deputy. Finally, much of the dialog and action seemed clichéd, macho and immature, like the insults given by Marvin and Sombrero, the quickness to form a lynching party, Murphy's poker playing philosophy; almost every line in the movie was trite. And I almost forgot: Johnny Sombrero's outrageous dress, and speech, made his scenes look like a gay comedy. Murphy's black leather outfit was a hoot too. ... ... I was disappointed in some of the unbelievable plot twists, the two that I remember best are: (1) that Domergue (who genuinely loved Mohr) would lead the good guys to Mohr's hideout; she didn't have to do that; very unwise; and (2) that Johnny Sombrero would turn on (give information harmful to) Domergue (whom he loved) in his dying confession (just because she was mistaken about McNally's trigger finger health?).

After all of the above, you might wonder why I liked the movie overall. The good points were; the high production values, good direction, swell color cinematography, the good actors, lots of action, and mostly that the story moved along quickly, and was quite interesting plot-wise, especially in the last third. Though some did not, I liked McNally's narration.Both McNally and Domergue impressed me with their acting and presence. Domergue's murder of the wounded outlaw was striking, never saw that before in a Western -- very nourish.
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Western Noir in colour
Spondonman25 July 2013
This is an entertaining but brief '50's Western and is still on UK TV regularly mainly because it was lucky enough to get shot in colour. However the story isn't too bad either, this side of Tolstoy anyway.

Wild bunch of brutal claim jumpers are terrorising the locality, but eventually fall foul of full-of-himself Marshal Lightning Stephen McNally (also doubling up as the noirish narrator) and the wronged Silver Kid played by smooth Audie Murphy. Who also respectively fall foul of dirty Brown Eyes and clean Dusty. In between the downbeat comments from McNally there's some sparkling dialogue, perhaps more intelligent than should be expected from this type of film but it helps keep you onboard while the hackneyed plot unfolds. Favourite bits: McNally's varying speeds of eating betwixt fillies; Murphy being told to stay in the jailhouse but turning up everywhere in Brown Eyes' house naturally riling McNally; Johnny Sombrero's swift comeuppance.

No surprises but quite a good film really, although sadly most people nowadays would pass it by as they prefer nothing but sex and gore for their entertainment.
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Totally engrossing!
JohnHowardReid8 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Producer: Leonard Goldstein. Copyright 12 June 1952 by Universal Pictures Co., Inc. New York opening at the Palace: 1 August 1952. U.S. release: August 1952. U.K. release on the lower half of a double bill: September 1952. Australian release: 6 February 1953. 77 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: The marshal of Silver City (sic) joins up with Luke Crowell, alias the Silver Kid, to apprehend claim jumpers.

COMMENT: Curious in that this movie is one of Audie Murphy's best films - even though he isn't the real star! That honor belongs to Stephen McNally as the town marshal, though Murphy is equally ingratiating - perhaps even more so - as his sidekick. In fact this unlikely partners routine gets a very appealing workout here - and like the best of these, it's not without its fair share of humor.

Also curious is the fact that Miss Domergue effectively plays a thoroughly evil femme fatale, - one who doesn't have a single redeeming quality! Miss Cabot does okay by the obligatory tomboyish "other gal".

Despite his position way down in the cast list, Lee Marvin can be easily spotted. In fact he has a few nice bits as a saloon loafer. We also like the guy who plays the oldtime deputy, Dan Music. Acting honors on the other side of the law belong firmly to Eugene Iglesias who makes his Johnny Sombrero a wonderfully greasy ne'er-do-well. Gerald Mohr is more conventional, though still effective, as a smiling villain. Director Siegel himself can be spotted as one of the bushwackers who waylay Murph.

Drayson and Hoffman have concocted an unusually rich script with lots of interlocking incidents and characters. This appealing script has been given an unusually lavish production by producer Goldstein, with lots of extras milling around, excellent locations, and polished technical credits.

Director Siegel takes ample advantage of all this budget largesse. The running inserts are marvellously effective in the action scenes.

All told, highly engrossing.

OTHER VIEWS: Vigorous direction, lusty playing and an unusually interesting scenario make this one of the top westerns of the year. Despite its "B" rating, technical credits and production values are more than creditable enough for an "A".
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Agreeable entertainment for Western fans.
Hey_Sweden16 July 2017
Stephen McNally is a rugged hero, playing the marshal "Lightning" Tyrone. He goes up against a vicious gang of "claim jumpers" making life miserable for miners. He makes the acquaintance of a youth who's been dubbed "The Silver Kid", played by WWII hero Audie Murphy, and decides that he can put The Kid to use as his deputy.

Although pretty average in terms of story, this is still entertaining thanks to the assured direction of Don Siegel, in the years before he'd graduated to the ranks of major A list directors. He knew how to handle action scenes, for one thing, and "The Duel at Silver Creek" is reasonably rousing at times. Overall, the filmmaking is quite capable, with top notch location work and superb creation of the classic Western look (in glorious Technicolor). You will notice that Siegel and the screenwriters don't exactly bother to keep the identities of certain villains a secret. You're also left in little doubt as to how the predictable script will unfold, so the scenario isn't about suspense, despite the fact that good guy Lightning has been badly wounded and can't handle a gun as well as he used to.

There are very fine performances by a well chosen cast: McNally, a confident young Murphy, lovely ladies Faith Domergue and Susan Cabot, Gerald Mohr, Eugene Iglesias, James Anderson, Walter Sande, Lee Marvin, George Eldredge, Griff Barnett, Harry Harvey, etc.

It's worth noting that the run time is a mere 77 minutes. It's always nice when actors and filmmakers can tell their story in a succinct manner and not drag it out any longer than necessary.

Six out of 10.
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Colorful, complicated, and action-packed, if somewhat standard fare, with handsome lead players.
weezeralfalfa14 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
As others have said, this is an entertainingly complex and action-packed western. While it includes many of the cliché features of western of this era, it also includes some unusual features. In addition to the boyishly handsome Audie Murphy, we have two gorgeous gals who often are included in scenes, in Susan Cabot and Faith Domergue(pronounced Dah mure). My only complaint is that they look too much alike. The occasional reviewer gets them mixed up. It doesn't help that my DVD jacket shows Faith and Audie, technically the leads, together, whereas actually it's Susan's character(Dusty) that Audie falls for. Dusty is your stereotypical Cinderella 'low maintenance' 'good girl': pretty and undemanding, but poor, plainly dressed, and otherwise undistinguished. She's right for young Luke(Audie), but initially pines for the much older, familiar, marshal('Lightning'), who considers her too young as a potential mate. Faith, as Opal(Brown Eyes to Lightning), is your stereotypical 'bad girl': high maintenance, with an extensive collection of fancy outfits and jewelry, supported by criminal activities of one of her admirers(Rod), which she occasionally aids(like strangling a dying victim while claiming to have nurse training!) In addition to her 'brother' Rod, who is actually her partner in buying stolen mine claims, she finds a new 'boy toy' in the irreverent young show off 'Johnny Sombrero' as well as the unsuspecting marshal, to whom she serves as bait to lure him where he can be easily dispatched or reveal important info. She's marked for eventual downfall when 'Lightening' finally discovers her complicity in the recent claim jumping racket, and she feels compelled to tentatively switch sides to save her skin. she suffers the fate of Ruth Roman ,in "The Far Country", who was in a rather similar situation, romancing both the villain and hero.

Meanwhile, we have complicated relationships between Lightening, Johnny Sombrero, and Audie, who reinvents himself as 'The Silver Kid', in a distinctive outfit, after being a victim of the jumper gang. Lightening suspects Johnny is behind some of the recent killings, but can't prove it. He hires the equally flashy and irreverent Silver Kid as his deputy to help protect him, his right hand being suboptimal in function from a shoulder slug. Lightening is forced to engage Johnny in a classic 'high noon' showdown. But the Silver Kid interrupts the proceedings by shooting Lightening in the trigger hand(knowing its suboptimal functionality), then taking his place. That's the second time he's saved Lightening from a potential bullet. Johnny's dying words provide a key clue to Lightening implicating Opal's involvement in the jumper gang.

During the finale shootout at Silver Creek, between the gang and a large posse, Audie does his most impressive stunt. His only thought is to rescue the bound and gagged Dusty, whom he surmises is stashed in the cabin as a hostage. He makes a running dive through the glass window, and does a triple roll, before shooting the surprised guard. Between these two stunts, the relationship between Lightening and the Silver Kid sometimes deteriorates, as the Kid keeps trying to interfere in Lightening's relationship with Opal, whom he doesn't like, later to be vindicated.

Although Audie is first billed, and winds up with the remaining featured girl, clearly, Stephen McNally, as Lightening, is otherwise the lead male. With Audie as his young sidekick, it's Lightening who performs the obligatory finale horse chase and shootout with the fleeing prime villain. Apparently , it was felt that Audie simply looked too small and young to make a convincing leading man in these types of westerns.

As previously pointed out, the central plot of a gang who make prospectors sign over their claims, then usually shoot them, doesn't seem to make practical sense when they want to remain anonymous. To make money, they would have to work the mine or hire someone to do so, or sell the doctored claim paper to some new prospector, all of which provide means of identifying them, unless they use pseudonyms, with an intermediate claim clearance buyer(Rod), which presumably is what they did.

Susan Cabot would again be featured as Audie's love interest in the subsequent western "Ride Clear of Diablo", where Audie again becomes a deputy. Despite her lack of exotic looks, she was perhaps more often cast as in Indian maiden or other exotic. She was disappointed in the shallow roles Universal gave her.

The somewhat older Faith was initially featured in films thanks to the infatuation of Howard Hughes. But, he finally gave up on her after several films failed to make a splash. I thought she was charismatic in this film.

Stephen McNally never made it big as an actor, lacking a distinctive look or personality. He often played villains or supporting roles. I thought he did a good job here.

Presently, part of a 4 '50s westerns collection on DVD, with one film each starring Randolph Scott, Jeff Chandler and Alan Ladd
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A solid and unself-aware Western adventure
MBunge13 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The Duel at Silver Creek is a nice example of how much fun the Western used to be before the genre got all serious and realistic.

In this story, claim jumpers are running wild near the town of Silver City. They're bushwacking people who have small claims around the gold rich Silver Creek, forcing them to sign over their claims and then killing them. But they get more than they bargain for when they try to jump the claim of a father and son. They do get the claim and kill the old man, but his son (Audie Murphy) kills three of the gang with his silver-handled revolvers. "Lightning" Tyrone (Stephen McNally), the marshal of Silver City, rounds up a posse to go after the claim jumpers but he ends up shot in the shoulder and the gang escapes. "Lightning" is taken to nearby Fort Lowell, where he's patched up but his shooting hand is crippled. He doesn't have the strength to pull a trigger anymore. While recovering at Fort Lowell, "Lightning" becomes infatuated with Opal Lacey (Faith Domgergue), a pretty lady in a pretty dress he takes to calling "brown eyes". But the audience soon discovers those brown eyes disguise a great many unpleasant things. "Lightning" returns to Silver City to find an old friend dead, shot in the back. He suspects Johnny Sombrero (Eugene Iglesias), the local bad man who happens to look like a Mexican Liberace, but has no proof. The marshal also runs into the son of the gold miner slain at the start of the film. Dubbed the Silver Kid now, the young man becomes "Lightning's" deputy and the two of them are pitted against the machinations of Johnny Sombrero, the claim jumpers and the beautiful Opal. Joining them is Dusty (Susan Cabot), a tom boy who's had a crush on the older "Lightning" for years. He doesn't see her as anything more than a little sister, but the Silver Kid has more romantic intentions toward her. The fast moving story has quite a few twists and turns before climaxing in a big gun battle between the claim jumpers and a new posse, which finally ends when one of the oldest and dumbest tricks in the book actually works.

I liked this film a lot but I have to admit, it's a fairly generic 1950s Western. By modern standards it's corny with two-dimensional characters and unremarkable dialog. The plot is a bit more involved than you might expect, however this isn't a story with any great depth or meaning to it. It's a fairly basic Western with good men, a bad woman and guns getting shot out of people's hands. If you're looking for gritty realism and edgy storytelling, this isn't the movie for you.

The Duel at Silver Creek is never anything more than a pleasant diversion and I don't think the filmmakers wanted it to be anything more than that. It moves at a brisk pace with plenty of traditional Western action. There's actually a great deal of stuff going on in the story, leading to simplistic but believable conflict between the characters. It's a great looking film with a couple of scenes that have a quite a visual kick to them. All of the actors do a good job for this sort of melodramatic tale. It's just a nice piece of entertainment.

It's nowhere near being one of the great Westerns, but The Duel at Silver Creek is a good Western. If you can get past stuff like the claim jumpers leaving a ransom note and literally signing it "The Jumpers", I think you'll get a kick out of this movie.
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"The Kid just got himself a two legged coyote"!
classicsoncall12 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not really sure what director Don Siegel was going for here, but it looks like he might have been trying to put one over on the movie Western fan. The first tip off is the scene where we're introduced to Marshal Lightning (Stephen McNally) of Silver City and a confrontation he has with Johnny Sombrero (Eugene Iglesias). Johnny Sombrero? This felt like one of those Mel Brooks spoofs to come down the pike a couple of decades later, I'm thinking of "Blazing Saddles". Even the name of bad guy Lacy's business, the Acme Mining Company, brought me back to those Wile E. Coyote cartoons where the hapless varmint just couldn't keep up with the Roadrunner. Are you starting to get the picture? Siegel then peppers the script with characters like the Silver Kid and Dusty; he even gives the outlaw leader's moll two names - Opal Lacy and Brown Eyes. All very camp.

But also all very entertaining. The principals take the ball and run with it, and give them credit for for doing it without cracking up. There are so many inconsistencies in the picture that I almost lost count. How about Opal Lacy's (Faith Domergue) first scene when she chokes the claim jumped miner brought into the Army Hospital? With no time to loosen the bandanna, the Cavalry doc simply picks it up to cover the face of the dead miner. No suspicion there, right?

And say, didn't the Silver Kid (Audie Murphy) gun down Tinhorn (Lee Marvin) after that card game when the Kid laid down three aces? Tinhorn shows up later none the worse for wear. At least Marvin stayed dead after he got shot by John Wayne in "The Comancheros". But I did get a kick out of The Kid's name for Tinhorn - 'sheep dip'. Audie Murphy may not have had the face of a killer, but he killed me with that line.

I'll say this for Murphy though - even though he never quite brought his film persona up to the level of his real life war record, he has about the boldest action move I've ever seen in a Western in this flick. At the final shoot out at the mining camp, Murphy dives through the window and INTO the outlaw cabin! There could have been a whole boat load of bad guys in there and he could have come out like a sponge. But he did it in the name of love, rescuing his gal Dusty (Susan Cabot). I thought it was pretty cool the way Kid compared relationships and life to a hand of poker; with that save he showed all his cards.

Of course the good guy team of Marshal Lightning and Silver Kid come out on top in the finale. It blows by pretty quickly, but it's revealed that Rod and Opal Lacy weren't siblings, which didn't make a whole lot of sense given the way the story was going. Lightning uses the old 'throw the rock in the other direction' trick to gun down the bad guy, and the only thing missing was a big old Cadillac to drive the heroes off into the sunset. Mel Brooks would have thought of that.
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There's not much to be done with names like "Brown Eyes" Lacy and "Lighting" Tyrone
Terrell-420 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
You probably shouldn't expect too much from a western when you see that the characters have names like The Silver Kid, Marshall "Lightning" Tyrone, Johnny Sombrero and Opal "Brown Eyes" Lacy. Still, Duel at Silver Creek has one interesting twist. It's the bickering misunderstandings between the two male good-guy leads, The Kid and "Lightening," Audie Murphy plays Luke "The Silver Kid" Cromwell and Stephen McNally is "Lightening" Tyrone. (It's a shame that we don't give our top law enforcers nicknames like this anymore. J. Edgar "Lightening" Hoover carries authority.)

There's a lot of lethal claim-jumping going around in the mountains near Silver City. A gang of killers forces the claim holders to sign over their claims, then guns them down so there are no witnesses. Marshal "Lightening" Tyrone, the fastest draw around, plans to hunt them down, bring them to justice or kill them himself. One of the claim holders had a son. He's aiming to do the same. He calls himself The Silver Kid. He's handy with a gun and good at poker. When "Lightening," no dummy who knows he needs more firepower, offers a deputy's badge to The Silver Kid, the Kid accepts. This is going to be a fraught partnership, complicated by a slick mining engineer (Gerald Mohr), a lush, pink-bosomed femme fatale (Faith Domerque) and Dusty (Susan Cabot), the feisty, pants-wearing tomboy we know will smarten up right fine in a dress. We meet the gang leaders early on. There are no surprises as we watch one shoot down miners in cold blood and another strangle to death a wounded miner.

I like Audie Murphy. His early movies leave a lot to be desired, but he grew into a decent actor. In real life he was a man to admire. In Hollywood he gave it his best and learned. In The Duel at Silver Creek he's no match for the hack-written dialogue and those nicknames. Try on "Thanks for the warning, Brown Eyes," "We're trapped! Spread out," "That was a smart stunt! I almost plugged you," "Hey, Dusty, Lighting's back!" and "He didn't have the face of a killer, but he had the cold-steel look of one. I noticed his hands were quick and sure." Stephen McNally was a competent actor, but here he's saddled with providing a dull narration to the story. There's not much he can do with what the writers gave him. This was also one of director Don Siegel's earliest movies.

The video and audio transfers are nothing out of the ordinary. You might enjoy this movie if you like Audie Murphy, if you enjoy the turgid clichés of hack screen writing and if you have something else to do while you watch. I'm three for three. I'll give it thee stars out of five. You might not. . One last cliché to keep in mind. (And clichés aren't spoilers) Remember that in Hollywood, good-natured old coots are always gunned down.
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The road to riches is paved with lawless blockades in the way.
mark.waltz8 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This is a convoluted and often frustrating tale of claims jumpers ruthlessly hopping from threat to threat (and killing them anyway) that seems to be too determined to keep a constantly tense pace which ultimately causes its downfall. It has great color photography and a great set-up, but there are far too many characters written with too many clichés, but often takes some fascinating, sinister turns.

The real reason to watch this movie is Audie Murphy, photographed with sort of a shining light around him that makes his already shiny black leather jacket seem to shine in the darkness seen constantly around him. Howard Hughes' former protégé, Faith Domergue, plays a well dressed, well spoken young lady who suddenly strangles a wounded man to death, yet remains sugary sweet throughout the film. She's striking in her beautiful period dresses, but its easy to see why she quickly faded away.

Susan Cabot scores better as the tough Dusty whom several of the men think of basically another one of the guys, but occasionally see through her tomboy looks as being a true woman. Stephen McNally is more the traditional hero, and even though Murphy gets top billing, the best photography and the girl, McNally's character is really the moral compass of the film. Other than an early film appearance by Lee Marvin, the other supporting characters all seem to jumble together.
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