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Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Violent Men (1955)

A peace loving ex-Union soldier (Glenn Ford) tries to stay out of the range wars in the big valley where he has a small ranch. But when the valley's biggest tyrant (Edward G. Robinson on crutches) uses violent and unsavory tactics to get him to sell, he's forced to show his hand. The western came into full bloom in the 1950s and while this Rudolph Mate (he was the cinematographer on Dreyer's LA PASSION DE JEANNE D'ARC) directed oater isn't talked about much, it's one of the superior examples of the adult western. This is an engaging western that does justice to the genre without overly indulging in western cliches. Based on a novel by Donald Hamilton (THE BIG COUNTRY) from a screenplay by Harry Kleiner, the film is able to flesh out detailed characters. Among them Robinson's ambitious and duplicitous wife (Barbara Stanwyck) who's carrying on an affair with his bully of a brother (Brian Keith). Handsomely shot in CinemaScope in Arizona and Lone Pine in California by W. Howard Greene and Burnett Guffey. The derivative score is by Max Steiner. With Dianne Foster, May Wynn (THE CAINE MUTINY), Richard Jaeckel, Warner Anderson, Jack Kelly, Katherine Warren and Lita Milan.

1 comment:

  1. You're right - a really superior example of a 50s western, well directed and acted by the leading trio.