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Monday, November 24, 2014

Powder River (1953)

An ex-lawman (Rory Calhoun) puts on a badge again after his partner (Frank Ferguson) is murdered with the intention of killing the man who did it. He forms an unlikely friendship with an ex-doctor (Cameron Mitchell) turned gunfighter who's seriously ill and doesn't seem to care if he lives or dies. Based on the same source material by Stuart N. Lake that served as the basis of Ford's MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, this is an economical tight little western. Clearly a programmer that 20th Century Fox tossed out to keep theaters occupied in between their major releases, nevertheless it's a stronger film than many of their big budget offerings. Calhoun and Mitchell's characters are obviously based on Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday though their names are different in the screenplay. Handsomely mounted in Technicolor and shot by Edward Cronjager (Lubitsch's HEAVEN CAN WAIT), it's some 20 minutes shorter than the Ford film and thus doesn't have time to wear out its welcome. Directed by Louis King. With Corinne Calvet, Penny Edwards, John Dehner, Carl Betz and Robert J. Wilke.

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