5.8/10
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The Moonlighter (1953)

Approved | | Western | 19 September 1953 (USA)
A cattle herder turned rustler runs from a lynch mob and falls, again, for an ex-lover.

Director:

Roy Rowland

Writer:

Niven Busch (story and screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Rela
Fred MacMurray ... Wes Anderson
Ward Bond ... Cole Gardner
William Ching ... Tom Anderson
John Dierkes ... Sheriff Daws
Morris Ankrum ... Alexander Prince
Jack Elam ... Slim
Charles Halton ... Clemmons Usqubaugh - Undertaker
Norman Leavitt ... Tidy
Sam Flint ... Mr. Mott - Bank President
Myra Marsh Myra Marsh ... Mrs. Anderson
William Kerwin ... Tony
Tom Keene ... Sheriff (as Richard Powers)
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Storyline

In the early 1900s, Wes Anderson is arrested for night-time cattle rustling (moonlighting). He had been gone from his home town for five years, leaving his sweetheart, Rela, to wait for him. Wes' brother, Tom, has chosen a different path in life and works as a teller in a bank in Rio Hondo. Tom is in-love with Rela and he pressures her to marry him in Wes' absence. Languishing in a sheriff's jail, Wes is awaiting trial, which promises to be a fair one, at least according to the town sheriff. But an angry lynch mob of local ranchers agitate in front of the jail, swinging a hanging rope and hankering for Wes' blood. When the sheriff leaves his jail for a lunch-break, the mob breaks into the jail, grabs an imprisoned hobo by mistake and hangs him. The lynch-mob believes to have hung Wes but he is safe, in jail. After he escapes from jail, Wes vows revenge on the members of the lynch mob. During the following days, Wes raids the ranches of those who participated in the lynch mob. He burns... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The beam of the moon - the scream of a woman - the savage meeting of "The Moonlighter" and his Midnight Lady! (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 September 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le voleur de minuit See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,000,000, 31 December 1953
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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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

According to a contemporary article in the Los Angeles Times, Alan Ladd and Kirk Douglas were being considered for the male lead in this film. See more »

Goofs

Wes has been gone for 5 years and left Rela waiting and is upset that she has found another man. Then when Wes volunteers to surrender and asks Rela to wait for him he seems to have forgot that he's committed several capital crimes including killing a few people. The next wait would be much longer. See more »

Quotes

Rela: You've changed, Wes.
Wes Anderson: Nobody stays the same.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits roll up from behind the scene of mountains, and include "Photographed in Natural Vision 3 Dimension", See more »

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User Reviews

 
"It's me they're after."
30 July 2014 | by utgard14See all my reviews

Wes Anderson (Fred MacMurray) plays a "moonlighter," which is a person who rustles cattle by moonlight, that is arrested and awaiting trial when a lynch mob after his head storms the jail. The mob doesn't know which prisoner is the moonlighter, so they wind up hanging the wrong man while Wes escapes. He returns later to seek revenge on the members of the lynch mob. He's injured in the process which leads to his reuniting with his ex-girlfriend (Barbara Stanwyck), who is now engaged to Wes' younger brother.

Disappointing 3D western that features the two leads from Double Indemnity but doesn't deserve to even be discussed in the same breath as that classic. It starts out well enough with an exciting opening twenty minutes or so but it all goes downhill after that and becomes a predictable and boring melodrama. The stars are better than this material. No clue why it was in 3D as there's nothing particularly impressive about any of the visuals.


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