Bart Allison arrives in Sundown planning to kill Tate Kimbrough. Three years earlier he believed Kimbrough was responsible for the death of his wife. He finds Kimbrough and warns him he is going to kill him but gets pinned down in the livery stable with his friend Sam by Kimbrough's stooge Sheriff and his men. When Sam is shot in the back after being told he could leave safely, some of the townsmen change sides and disarm the Sheriff's men forcing him to face Allison alone. Taking care of the Sheriff, Allison injures his gun hand and must now face Kimbrough left-handed.Written by
Maurice VanAuken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
They wont forget the day Bart Allison came to town.
Bart Allison and Sam, his trusty companion, ride into Sundown looking for a guy named Tate Kimbrough. It appears that Kimbrough had a dalliance with Allison's wife some years earlier, an affair that led to the suicide of the erstwhile Mrs. Allison. With revenge and hatred eating away at him, Allison will not rest until he gets his man, but his very being here in Sundown will be the catalyst for not only himself, but also every other resident of this dusky town.
Randolph Scott (Bart Allison) and director Budd Boetticher made seven very interesting and intelligent Westerns together, each man seemingly using each one as a muse of sorts. This particular entry on their wonderful resumes is a fine testament to their winning formula, for Decision At Sundown offers up something different outside of your standard Western fare. The plot structure is for sure very basic, the man out for revenge, and the town in the grip of less than honourable men, but here our main protagonist really isn't thinking with his head. He is driven by rage and an affair of the heart, he in fact doesn't care if he lives or dies, just as long as he gets his man! Also of interest is the effect on the town of Sundown that Allison has, it certainly lent me to think about some so called supernatural Westerns that would surface later on down the line, whilst the ending here doesn't resort to any sort of cop out formula, it's poignant and begs for a further train of thought.
Scott is first rate as Allison, grey hair personifying the wisdom that he has lost due to his blind thirst for revenge, he has a devilment glint that's evident in both of his eyes. Scott does an excellent line in rage and grief stricken acting, further cementing his reputation as a wonderful actor in the splendid Western filmic sphere. Backing Scott up is Noah Beery Jr (Sam) and John Archer as Dr. John Storrow, but of the rest of the cast I personally couldn't lend too much praise for, with the main negative of note being that the villains of the piece barely get out of grumpy only territory. John Carroll (Kimbrough) and Andrew Duggan as crooked Sheriff Swede Hansen really should have gone for a more twirling moustache type villainy than the underplayed ones that we actually get.
But underplayed villains be damned, this is still a hugely enjoyable picture, and one that definitely holds up on a repeat viewing whilst solidifying the top end genre status of Boetticher and Scott as a pairing. 7/10
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