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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Untamed Frontier (1952)

When the reckless heir (Scott Brady) to the Denbow empire shoots an unarmed man (Richard Garland), he marries the only witness (Shelley Winters) to keep her from testifying against him as a wife can't testify against her husband in a court of law. An effective western that focuses on the human element rather than the usual western trappings like barroom brawls and gunfights. Oh sure, there's a subplot about homesteaders vs. cattle ranchers that's prominent but it takes a backseat to the saga of a hard nosed cattle baron (Minor Watson) whose only son (Brady) refuses to accept his responsibilities and the nephew (Joseph Cotten) who takes them on and the woman (Winters) who comes between them. Winters is good but she's one of those actors who have such a contemporary sensibility that they seem out of place in a western despite their talent. A minor entry in the genre but one that should appeal to even non-western fans. Directed by Hugo Fregonese. With Lee Van Cleef, Suzan Ball, David Janssen, Fess Parker and Katherine Emery.

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