6.6/10
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Tribute to a Bad Man (1956)

Passed | | Drama, Romance, Western | April 1956 (USA)
With no law within 200 miles horse rancher Jeremy Rodak runs his spread with an iron hand and deals with rustlers even more ruthlessly.

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

Michael Blankfort (story), Jack Schaefer (short story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Cagney ... Jeremy Rodock
Don Dubbins ... Steve Miller
Stephen McNally ... McNulty
Irene Papas ... Jocasta Constantine
Vic Morrow ... Lars Peterson
James Griffith ... Barjak
Onslow Stevens ... Hearn
James Bell ... L.A. Peterson
Jeanette Nolan ... Mrs. L.A. Peterson
Chubby Johnson ... Baldy
Royal Dano ... Abe
Lee Van Cleef ... Fat Jones
Peter Chong Peter Chong ... Cooky
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Storyline

Jeremy Rodock is a tough horse rancher who strings up rustlers soon as look at them. Fresh out of Pennsylvania, Steve Miller finds it hard to get used to Rodock's ways, although he takes an immediate shine to his Greek girl Jocasta. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Cagney in his greatest role! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

April 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jeremy Rodock See more »

Filming Locations:

Montrose, Colorado, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,846,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)| 4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Spencer Tracy was cast as Jeremy Roderick but was replaced by James Cagney, as he complained and procrastinated about working on that location because of the altitude of the Rockies. This essentially resulted in his being fired from MGM, his home studio since 1935. See more »

Quotes

Jeremy Rodock: [Explaining to Jocasta why he must go search out and hang the horse thieves, in spite of Jo's wishes to the contrary] Jo... you come as close to bein'... well, as close to bein' everything to me as anything livin'. But I still can't do what you want me to do. We're livin' in the middle of nowhere. Two hundred miles from any kind of law and order. Except for what I built myself. Ever since I started - and this you don't know - I've been badgered, skunked, bitten out and bushwhacked by thieves ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

And Introducing Irene Pappas See more »

Connections

Referenced in MGM Parade: Episode #1.28 (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen
(uncredited)
Composed by Thomas Payne Westendorf (as Thomas P. Westendorf) (1875)
Played by Irene Papas on piano
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Jeremy Rodock's Valley.
22 October 2013 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Tribute to a Bad Man is directed by Robert Wise and adapted to screenplay by Michael Blankfort from the short story Hanging's for the Lucky written by Jack Schaefer. A CinemaScope/Eastman Color production, it stars James Cagney, Don Dubbins, Stephen McNally and Irene Papas. Music is by Miklós Rózsa and cinematography by Robert Surtees.

Jeremy Rodock (Cagney) is a no nonsense rancher whose ruthless hold on his considerable spread of land includes hanging rustlers without trial or sentence. When young Steve Millar (Dubbins) helps Rodock in a time of need, he is offered work on the ranch. But when his Greek mistress Jocasta Constantine (Papas) attracts interest from Steve and wrangler McNulty (McNally), it forces Rodock into even darker shades of his character.

Following on from the wonderful Run for Cover the previous year, Cagney returned to the Western arena for the last time for Tribute to a Bad Man, and what a fitting picture on which to leave the West.

The film encountered problems in early production when Spencer Tracy had a sulk and walked off of the picture. So in came Cagney. Steve Millar was being played by Robert Francis, but the actor was tragically killed in a plane crash, so in stepped Dubbins. Wise's film is essentially a coming of age frontier Western, though it concerns two male characters coming of age at different places in their life. Millar is the young pup whose come West to seek employment and meaning in his life, Rodock is hard-bitten, grizzled and can't see further than his own pig-headed beliefs. Rodock will either have to change his ways, wake up and smell the coffee, or risk losing everything.

Will Rodock come through? Can an old dog be taught new psychological tricks? When he once again deals out his own brand of justice he has surely gone too far this time? It also opens up an old rivalry wound that will ultimately define all involved. What is in store for Millar? Once his eyes have been opened and he sees that cowboy life can actually be harsh, as can his young emotions. Then there is the beautiful Jocasta, a woman ashamed of her past life back in Cheyenne, forever grateful to Rodock for taking her away from that life. The age difference between the two is considerable, but their relationship is based on trust, loyalty and realism. That is until the equilibrium is upset…

Technically it's a sumptuous production, where even if the thematics of the story doesn't sound like your thing, it's a film worth spending time with just to see Surtees' Scope photography and hear Rózsa's score. The former brings the striking Colorado Rockies to life with some breath taking distinction, while the latter provides music that positively swells then swirls around the magnificent back drop. With Cagney on mesmerising form, Papas and Dubbins not letting their inexperience affect the picture (Cagney took both under his wing), and Wise stringing it together as a knowing character based tapestry, it rounds out as a darn great and beautiful Oater. 8/10


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