Cattle baron Matt Devereaux raids a copper smelter that is polluting his water, then divides his property among his sons. Son Joe takes responsibility for the raid and gets three years in prison. Matt dies from a stroke partly caused by his rebellious sons and when Joe gets out he plans revenge.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Stuntman Russ Saunders broke and did permanent damage to his arm falling fifty feet (15.24 meters) into a lake while doubling for Richard Widmark. See more »
When Barbara visits Joe in prison, he angrily leaves her and when he grabs the iron bar cell door, it visibly shakes and wobbles. No iron bar door in prison is constructed shabbily enough to do that. See more »
He'll cool down... and when he does he'll make the deal. He's too smart not to. Ain't that right, Ben?
I don't know. But anybody that throws $10,000 in a spittoon makes me nervous.
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Although a remake,this western strongly recalls the story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis.After all,that's the hero's name ,and his brothers really sell him when they refuse to give more money to the bosses of the copper mine .Leonard Maltin wrote that it owes a deal to "king lear" too,the daughters becoming sons.Richard Widmark is the stand-out and easily outshines the "good" Robert Wagner and his two other brothers who are no more than walk-ons anyway.In his final confrontation with Tracy,he even surpasses the veteran :he succeeds,which is not a small feat, in making us believe that he had a very hard life and that he's not so bad after all.
"Broken lance" ranks among Dmytryk's best works ,more human than "Warlock" and a thousand times better than the latter days ' fiascoes such as "Alvarez Kelly" and the dreadful "Shalako".Released just after the brilliant "Caine mutiny" ,it compares favorably to it,in its own way.The opening is intriguing :we do believe ,for a short while,that Joe (Wagner) is the black sheep of the family ,and then , a long flashback -a device which is rarely used in westerns - brilliantly starting with the patriarch's(Tracy)painting in a deserted house ,tells the whole story.Also unusual is the rather long trial ,a reason for which some will classify the movie as talky,which is unfair,because so many qualities in a western are rare to find.Tracy's death is a real tour de force verging on supernatural.There's also a sensitive wistful performance by Katy Jurado ,as Tracy's second wife .
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