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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Way Of A Gaucho (1952)

Set in 1870's Argentina, a gaucho (an Argentinean cowboy) played by Rory Calhoun is sentenced to army service after killing a man in a fair fight. There, he clashes with the strong willed Major (Richard Boone) determined to break him. When he escapes to the mountains where he becomes a bandit hero to the Argentinean peasants, the single minded Major continues his relentless pursuit. Directed by Jacques Tourneur (CAT PEOPLE), the film benefits enormously from being filmed in the actual Argentina locations which gives the film a validity that sets it apart from a typical Hollywood western. Filmed in the Pampas and mountains, it looks genuine in a way that no soundstage or North American location could replicate. Unfortunately, some of the casting is problematic. Calhoun seems to be right out of Dodge City rather than Buenos Aires and that bland specimen of the American male, Hugh Marlowe (ALL ABOUT EVE) is a fish out of water. Fortunately, Boone seems believable and Gene Tierney has the grace and elegance of an Argentinean aristocrat. The film is notable for its era in its frank relationship between Calhoun and Tierney who are obviously loving and living without benefits of marriage and the film's ambiguous ending that leaves the fate of its major characters in doubt. With Everett Sloane.

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