From 1870 to 1873, Texas suffered under the carpetbag administration of Reconstructionist Governor E. J. Davis (the name and the stated conditions were about the only things authentic in thi... Read allFrom 1870 to 1873, Texas suffered under the carpetbag administration of Reconstructionist Governor E. J. Davis (the name and the stated conditions were about the only things authentic in this film) and his despotic state police commanded in John's City by Captain Jake Thornton. T... Read allFrom 1870 to 1873, Texas suffered under the carpetbag administration of Reconstructionist Governor E. J. Davis (the name and the stated conditions were about the only things authentic in this film) and his despotic state police commanded in John's City by Captain Jake Thornton. Two young men, Tom Cameron and Ray Novack, flee to the Big Bend area to escape persecution.... Read all
"There is one dark and grim page in Texas history; it concerns the three years 1870 to 1873, during which Texans suffered and smouldered under the carpetbag administration of Governor E.J. Davis. Texas law was administered and enforced by a despotic organisation called the Texas State police - - known as the "Bluebellies." Constitutional rights were ignored - - such as the right to keep and bear arms, the right to have public meetings, private property rights and most of the other expressions of human dignity and freedom of which Texas has always been so rightfully proud. Naturally they did something about it..."
For the whole of its 80 minutes running time, The Desperado crams as much in as it possibly can, producing a mightily strong Western in the process. Stripping it down to the core the story is about a good man forced to turn bad, who does bad things in the name of correcting the wrongs done to him. He's forced to go on the run with a man he can't stand, leaving the woman he loves behind. Hooking up with a famed outlaw, he learns how to become a killer, but always the screenplay has us completely on his side, all while the finer details back in his home town build the other half of the story.
A man does his own killing.
His time on the run sees a friendship formed, with camp fire bondings prominent, while his backbone is continually tested by certain encounters. The narrative twists and turns to build a compelling case, the odds are firmly stacked against him as a dastardly acquaintance with an ulterior motive moves and shakes to ruin his life. The backdrop is one of bully boy law enforcement and big political change, of a place full of weasels, cowards, liars and idiots, marking this out as a film very dark in nature.
Don't put faith in anybody but yourself.
Violence and action is never far away either, as director Carr keeps things lively, and Novak's black and white photography is sparkling (TCM hold a lovely print). The acting is hardly grade "A" stuff, but the principal players turn in very effective shows. Morris owns the film as the wise and weary outlaw Sam Garrett, a role you can tell he is very much enjoying playing, while the beautiful Garland works really hard to make her love interest character more than a token offering - and she succeeds. Bonus for Oater fans is Van Cleef popping in for some dramatic impact, where he plays twins! Wonderful.
This is very much an under seen film, and personally I'm a little proud to be able to put out on the internet what appears to be the first non professional review. It's different to the usual Wayne Morris fare and I'm convinced that Western lovers who like some dark tints in their films would heartily enjoy this one. See it if you get chance! 8/10
- Aug 16, 2015