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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One Foot In Hell (1960)

When an impoverished man (Alan Ladd) brings his ill and pregnant wife (Rachel Stephens) to a new town, their indifference and lack of compassion results in his wife's death. Feeling guilty, the town offers penance by making him a deputy sheriff and welcome him into the community. While on the surface a model citizen, he secretly plots a terrible revenge on the town to avenge his wife. To this end, he recruits a drunken ex-soldier (Don Murray), a prostitute (Dolores Michaels) and two gunslingers (Dan O'Herlihy, Barry Coe). While an intriguing and fresh premise for a western, this is no HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER. Ladd, in his most unsympathetic role, isn't a strong enough actor to register the rage simmering underneath his complacent surface. It doesn't help that he looks terrible, aged and bloated. The director James B. Clark doesn't have the edginess that would have increased the tension quotient that a film like this requires. Still, the intriguing posit is enticing enough to keep one entertained through out it all. William C. Mellor (A PLACE IN THE SUN) did the CinemaScope lensing and Dominic Frontiere is responsible for the routine score. With Larry Gates and Karl Swenson.

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