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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Run For Cover (1955)

A man (James Cagney) with a past and a young cowboy (John Derek) are mistaken for train robbers and the young man is seriously wounded, a leg permanently damaged. In atonement, the town makes Cagney the sheriff and Derek becomes his deputy. But the youngster's bitterness will lead him down a dark path and older man's past comes back to haunt him. Made by Nicholas Ray between his two masterworks JOHNNY GUITAR and REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, this western isn't brought up much which is a pity. It may be second tier Nick Ray but it's still a strong, often complex western, certainly superior to HOT BLOOD and TRUE STORY OF JESSE JAMES, two of his weakest films made around the same time. Cagney at age 56 may have been pushing it as a romantic leading man, his romance with Viveca Lindfors as a Swedish farm girl comes off as awkward. But far more injurious to the film is John Derek, who simply isn't a strong enough actor to handle the layered role he plays. Majestically shot in VistaVision in New Mexico and Colorado by Daniel L. Fapp (THE GREAT ESCAPE) and the underscore by Howard Jackson, who's responsible for the hideous title song the film could have done without. With Jean Hersholt in his final film role, Ernest Borgnine and Ray Teal.

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