6.3/10
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The Kentuckian (1955)

Passed | | Drama, Western | 7 August 1955 (Japan)
A Kentucky widower bound for 1820's Texas with his young son is thwarted in his efforts by a corrupt constable, a long-standing family feud, and a beautiful indentured servant.

Director:

Burt Lancaster

Writers:

A.B. Guthrie Jr. (screenplay), Felix Holt (novel)

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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Burt Lancaster ... Elias Wakefield (Big Eli)
Dianne Foster ... Hannah Bolen
Diana Lynn ... Susie Spann
Walter Matthau ... Stan Bodine
Donald MacDonald ... Little Eli Wakefield
John McIntire ... Zack Wakefield
Una Merkel ... Sophie Wakefield
John Carradine ... Ziby Fletcher
John Litel ... Pleasant Tuesday Babson
Rhys Williams ... Constable
Edward Norris ... Roulette Dealer
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Storyline

A delicious love story centered around a single father attempting raise his son despite the temptations of liquor and women. Lancaster shines as the stable and regal frontiersman fending off the seductions of Walter Matthieu and lewd desires.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Hunter...Frontiersman...Adventurer!

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 August 1955 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Gabriel Horn See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,600,000, 31 December 1955
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Walter Matthau. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning, Eli is sitting near a campfire. We can clearly see its flames, showing it is still burning. When Eli stands up, the flames has disappeared, even we haven't see him extinguishing the fire. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Little Eli Wakefield: How long now, Pa? How many more days?
Elias Wakefield: We ain't much more than started!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Remembers Walter Matthau (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Burt Lancaster stars and directs himself in minor western...
17 June 2007 | by Neil DoyleSee all my reviews

BURT LANCASTER stars as THE KENTUCKIAN who has a yearning to go where the grass is greener and wants to leave Kentucky for a new life in Texas with his young son in tow. DIANA LYNN is a pretty schoolteacher at the schoolhouse cabin and DIANNE FOSTER is the other female lead, an indentured servant, with a yen for Lancaster.

Good supporting roles for WALTER MATTHAU (making his screen debut) and JOHN CARRADINE. JOHN LITEL makes a welcome appearance as a riverboat man, but the story lacks a strong enough plot to maintain interest in the rather pedestrian proceedings. Filmed in widescreen color and CinemaScope, it looks as though a lavish budget has been expended on a tiresome script.

Fortunately, the film picks up interest toward the last fifteen minutes when Lancaster and his son have to defend themselves against badman Matthau and his cohorts. There's also a confrontational bullwhip scene with Matthau and Lancaster that is well staged and effective.

But the story is rather trite and there's nothing special about Lancaster's performance or his direction. I would have preferred a more appealing youngster for Young Eli than DONALD MacDONALD who walks through his role without ever inhabiting it.


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