Search This Blog

Monday, April 23, 2012

Untamed (1955)

When a South African (Tyrone Power) travels to Ireland to buy horses, he falls in love with the fiery daughter (Susan Hayward) of the land baron (Henry O'Neill) he's purchasing the horses from. But he leaves her to return to South Africa. When the disastrous 1845 potato famine hits Ireland, she and her new husband (John Justin, THIEF OF BAGDAD) move to South Africa to start life anew. It's inevitable that she'll meet her old flame and the sparks will fly. Directed by Henry King (SONG OF BERNADETTE), the South African setting is extraneous. The film feels and looks like a conventional western with Zulus subbing for Indians. No doubt the "exotic" background was used in conjunction with the promise of CinemaScope into luring 1955 audiences into thinking they were going to see something different as opposed to a routine western. When it's not a faux western, it comes across as a Harlequin romance with the feisty and headstrong "untamed" heroine with low cut bodices and the dashing soldier of fortune who must tame her. Though Power is top billed, he's essentially a supporting character, absent from the film for large sections. The film is all about Hayward's character, a distant cousin to Scarlett O'Hara. The purple prose that passes for dialog is a bit much and the film is all over the place. For instance, there's Rita Moreno who's apparently supposed to be playing a "native" but it's the cliched, hot tempered Latina ("I keel chu if chu take my man!") with no explanation of how this hot tempered Puerto Rican got to South Africa! The colorful score is by Franz Waxman. With Agnes Moorehead (shamefully wasted), Richard Egan, Hope Emerson, Kevin Corcoran, Eleanor Audley and Brad Dexter.

No comments:

Post a Comment