6.9/10
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24 user 18 critic

Man in the Shadow (1957)

Approved | | Action, Crime, Drama | 22 January 1958 (USA)
Virgil Renchler owns most of the town providing a thriving economy. When his men go too far and kill one of his migrant workmen, the sheriff goes after him even if it means his job and everyone else's.

Director:

Jack Arnold

Writer:

Gene L. Coon
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Chandler ... Ben Sadler
Orson Welles ... Virgil Renchler
Colleen Miller ... Skippy Renchler
Ben Alexander ... Ab Begley
Barbara Lawrence ... Helen Sadler
John Larch ... Ed Yates
James Gleason ... Hank James
Royal Dano ... Aiken Clay
Paul Fix ... Herb Parker
Leo Gordon ... Chet Huneker
Martin Garralaga ... Jesus Cisneros
Mario Siletti ... Tony Santoro
Charles Horvath ... Len Bookman
William Schallert ... Jim Shaney
Joseph J. Greene Joseph J. Greene ... Harry Youngquist
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Storyline

In effect, modern cow town Spurline is run by Virgil Renchler, owner of the Golden Empire Ranch. One night, two of Virgil's henchmen go a little too far and beat a "bracero" ranch hand to death. Faced with an obvious cover-up and opposition on every hand, sheriff Ben Sadler is goaded into investigating. His unlikely ally: Renchler's lovely, self-willed and overprotected daughter. Will Ben survive Renchler's wrath? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

VIOLENCE AND FEAR GRIPPED THIS LAND OF THE LAWLESS! (all original posters-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Virgil Renchler was originally supposed to be played by Robert Middleton. The William Morris Agency instead suggested Orson Welles, who badly needed money to pay income taxes he owned to the Internal Revenue Service. See more »

Goofs

Many characters comment about the heat, saying the temperature must be well over 100 degrees, yet even though they are all wearing long sleeves, ties, even suits, no one is ever sweating. The only ones with even a bit moisture on them are the old man and one of the henchmen. See more »

Quotes

Helen Sadler: What will happen to Spurline without the business from the ranch?
Ben Sadler: What'll happen to it without the law?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Senda torcida (1963) See more »

User Reviews

Welles and Zugsmith-- The Original Odd Couple
19 October 2010 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Seems like shapely actress Colleen Miller appears outside her regular clothes about as often as in them, as in nightgown and underwear. But then, the movie posters had to have something provocative to promote.

The premise itself has been around the block more than a few times—a reluctant lawman stands up to local tyrant despite opposition from frightened townspeople. Still, the movie works pretty well up to two points where the screenplay buckles—the rope dragging and the town turn-around. Neither of these is very believable within context. But then, the film is on a budget and does have to motivate a wrap-up.

I gather producer Zugsmith helped finance Welles' next feature Touch of Evil (1957) in return for appearing here. The part is relatively small, and Welles underplays without the needed malevolence. Seems almost like he's walking through. Nonetheless, it's a solid cast of supporting players, familiar faces from thuggish Leo Gordon to Dragnet's Ben Alexander taking a break from the LAPD. The support works well to provide more color than usual.

Rather sad to see that earnest actor Jeff Chandler again, knowing he died unnecessarily at 42 as result of medical malpractice (a foreign object left inside following an operation, as I recall). He's quite good here as the conflicted sheriff struggling to do his duty.

All in all, it's a decent enough programmer, better than Zugsmith's usual quickie fare, thanks in large part (I expect) to under-rated director Jack Arnold.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 January 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Seeds of Wrath See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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