Jim Douglas has been relentlessly pursuing the four outlaws who murdered his wife, but finds them in jail about to be hanged. While he waits to witness their execution, they escape; and the townspeople enlist Douglas' aid to recapture them.Written by
David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>
Gregory Peck stated that the movie was written as an attack on McCarthyism, which he strongly opposed. See more »
When the first gang member lies in ambush, he is seen crawling past a large green shrub and behind broken blades of dry grass. After he is spotted by Jim Douglass and the camera cuts back to him, the exact same shot is repeated as though it is happening further along in the story. See more »
Henry King, who directed this picture, had a long and distinguished career that lasted from 1915 from 1962. He directed perhaps as many classic movies as anyone, from TOL'ABLE David (1920) through TENDER IS THE NIGHT (1962). Yet if you look at his sound movies from 1935 on, you will see very little camera movement. Like many of his contemporaries, King set down his camera and let it sit for a while, allowing the movie-goer to make up his mind gradually.
This, however, is a movie of short takes and moving cameras. It might not be apparent to someone familiar with movies shot only in the past twenty years, but watch what happens when Gregory Peck is in the shot: the camera moves like mad to keep him in the frame and you get frequent point of view shots from the character's perspective.
Also watch for the perfectly framed compositions, another hallmark of the directors who started their work in the silent era. A lot of credit, of course, to his regular cameraman, Leonard Shamroy, a great script and marvelous performances.
But that moving camera is not his usual style.
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