6.5/10
603
17 user 8 critic

The Lonely Man (1957)

Approved | | Drama, Western | 21 June 1957 (France)
Aging gunslinger Jacob Wade hopes to settle down with his estranged son, but his old enemies have other plans for him.

Director:

Henry Levin
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jack Palance ... Jacob Wade
Anthony Perkins ... Riley Wade
Neville Brand ... King Fisher
Robert Middleton ... Ben Ryerson
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Willie (as Elisha Cook)
Claude Akins ... Blackburn (as Claude A. Akins)
Lee Van Cleef ... Faro
Harry Shannon ... Dr. Fisher
James Bell ... Judge Hart
Adam Williams ... Lon
Denver Pyle ... Brad, Red Bluff Sheriff
John Doucette ... Sundown Whipple
Paul Newlan ... Fence Green (as Paul 'Tiny' Newlan)
Elaine Aiken ... Ada Marshall
Tennessee Ernie Ford ... Singer (voice)
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Storyline

Gunslinger Jacob Wade finds his long-abandoned son Riley, now a young man who hates his father but has nowhere else to go. Hoping to settle down, Jacob finds no town will have him. They end at Monolith, the ranch of Jacob's former girlfriend Ada, to whom he had no intention of returning. A mustang hunt finds Riley himself attracted to the shapely Ada...and Jacob having trouble with his eyesight. And his visions of a quiet life are doomed by the re-appearance of enemies from his past... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Two of today's most publicized personalities Anthony Perkins and Jack Palance teamed in a great outdoor drama!

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 June 1957 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

El hombre solitario See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Elaine Aiken. See more »

Goofs

In the saloon fight, Riley lights a lantern and throws it. He shoots twice as the man is engulfed in flames. You see the flashes, but there is no sound. See more »

Quotes

Jacob Wade: If he wants to hate me, let him. What I'm trying to do is stand him on his own two feet.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Claude Akins is credited as Claude A. Akins although that is not his middle initial. It is actually "M" for Marion. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Waco: Operation Showtime (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

The Lonely Man
Lyrics by Jack Brooks
Music by Van Cleave
Performed by Tennessee Ernie Ford
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very interesting and well done
12 November 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

With an on paper intriguing story and a cast that includes Jack Palance, Anthony Perkins, Lee Van Cleef and Elisha Cook Jnr. 'The Lonely Man' promised a lot. And it delivers a lot too luckily.

Have admittedly seen fairly little of director Henry Levin's body of work, but the little seen of him has left me somewhat indifferent. To me though, 'The Lonely Man' is among his better and more interesting films and is worthy of more attention than the not-very-well-known status it's garnered. Sure, it's not perfect and there are better westerns around but 'The Lonely Man' has a lot to recommend and has a few interest points (including Anthony Perkins in an early role pre-Norman Bates, him and Palance trying to out-smoulder each other and the Oedipal relationship between Riley and Ada).

The Oedipal relationship did feel underdeveloped and doesn't have anywhere near the passion and poignancy of the evolving father and son relationship between Jacob and Riley that dominates 'The Lonely Man'. Elaine Aiken does her best but is a little bland in a role that doesn't give her that much to do.

Occasionally, the general tightness of the pace loosens and becomes a little too leisurely and there are a few things in the story and supporting characters (King Fisher's allies also felt on the underwritten side) that could have done with more exploration and made sense more.

Conversely, 'The Lonely Man' does look great. The cinematography is truly beautiful on the eyes as well as being suitably moody, and the very natural and handsome locales are similarly well done. The music suits the atmosphere well, having a sweep and understatement. Levin's direction is efficient rather than the routine direction somewhat expected.

'The Lonely Man' is tautly written and sometimes has an offbeat tone, while the story is mostly very absorbing and there is a surprising amount of emotion. It is especially good in the father and son relationship, which has initial tension but once the truth comes out it's quite affecting and one roots for a redemptive resolution. The climax is one that had me biting the nails and had me feeling very sad about the outcome (see for yourself).

Perkins acquits himself pretty well in an early role, though he definitely went on to better things (including one of cinema's most iconic villains as Norman Bates in 'Psycho'), and Neville Brand is a formidable opponent with suitably heavyweight support from Van Cleef and Cook. The acting honours however belong to Palance, a powerhouse in a role that suits him to the ground and the type he should have done more of. It was really fascinating seeing he and Perkins out-smoulder each other but, while they work incredibly well, Perkins is no match for Palance in that department. Mainly because we're talking about an early career actor against one with one of the most intimidating physiques in "classic film/Golden Age film".

Overall, a well done and interesting different western that flaws and all should be better known. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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