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 Matthau and lewd desires.
The riverboat used in the movie was the Delta Queen. The company spent almost $10,000 to add the fake smokestacks. See more »
At the beginning, Eli is sitting near a campfire. We can clearly see its flames, showing it is burning. When Eli stands up, the flames have disappeared, and we haven't see him extinguishing the fire. See more »
Burt Lancaster stars and directs himself in minor western...
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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