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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Last Sunset (1961)

A man (Kirk Douglas) on the run from the law escapes from the U.S. to Mexico where he seeks out his former lover (Dorothy Malone), now married to a boozer (Joseph Cotten). But when a lawman (Rock Hudson) shows up determined to take him back to Texas for justice, they both become rivals for the same woman. But first, they all must make that long trek from Mexico to Texas on a cattle drive. This is a very good "adult" western. Adult in that its themes are and narrative are not typical of the western genre. This isn't your usual shoot 'em up cowboys and Indians oater. Based on the novel SHOWDOWN AT CRAZY HORSE by Robert Rigsby from a screenplay by Dalton Trumbo (SPARTACUS), director Robert Aldrich goes for high tragedy with a touch of Sophocles and succeeds admirably. Handsomely shot by Ernest Laszlo (STALAG 17), it has one of the best dust storm sequences I've seen in a film. All the players are well cast (Douglas is perhaps too well cast) and their collective performances form the foundation of the film's core. With Carol Lynley, Neville Brand, Jack Elam, Regis Toomey and James Westmoreland.

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