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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Three Hours To Kill (1954)

A cowboy (Dana Andrews) is accused of murder and a lynch mob attempts to hang him. He escapes but the rope has left an indelible scar on his neck as well as his psyche. Three years later, he returns to town to confront the lynch mob's leaders, find the real killer and seek out the woman (Donna Reed) he loved. The 1950s were truly the "golden age" of westerns. While many notable directors (John Ford, William Wyler, Elia Kazan, Fred Zinnemann etc.) and stars made major films in the genre, minor western programmers proliferated and audiences ate them up. Most of the programmers are forgettable but many are better than some of the "A" efforts and this tale of revenge is very good. Directed by Alfred L. Werker (HE LIVED BY NIGHT), this is a fast paced and lean (its running time is 1 hour, 17 minutes) oater that doesn't outstay its welcome. As far as revenge westerns go, it's above average and the real killer's identity took me by surprise. Western buffs should seek it out but even non western film fans should find it modest entertainment. With the undervalued Dianne Foster (my favorite character in the film), Carolyn Jones, Richard Webb, Stephen Elliott, James Westerfield, Richard Coogan and Whit Bissell.   

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