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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Montana Belle (1952)

The notorious female bandit Belle Starr (Jane Russell) is rescued from the hangman's noose by Bob Dalton (Scott Brady) of the Dalton gang. But when a posse almost catches up with her, Starr assumes the Dalton gang have double crossed her and with two partners (Forrest Tucker, Jack Lambert) lay low and play respectable while planning to heist a casino run by Bradfield (George Brent). But when Cupid shoots his arrow, things don't go as planned. At this stage of the game, Belle Starr seemed to be a brand name, a generic moniker for a woman outlaw and thus the fictionalized film bears no resemblance whatsoever to the real Belle Starr. Shockingly routine considered it was directed by Allan Dwan who directed some solid if minor westerns in the 1950s like SILVER LODE and TENNESSEE'S PARTNER, the film was actually made in 1948 but didn't see a theatrical release until four years later. At first, the film seems headed to an unusually bleak ending until a romanticized finish botches it. The film was shot in in a garish process called TruColor, the same process Nick Ray's JOHNNY GUITAR was shot in but it looks nowhere as good. With Andy Devine, Ray Teal and John Litel.

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