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Monday, June 2, 2008


Originally shot in 3-D by one-eyed megger Andre De Toth (tons of stuff thrown right at us!), this is a shabby, off-key Western that pushes the limits of our identification with its protagonist, played stiffly by Randolph Scott . The usual structure for one of these stranger-comes-to-town Westerns is careful to barely sketch in the murky, sometimes unsavory backstory that led to all that wandr'ing. Here, it’s all uncomfortably played out for us in the prologue. And its not a pretty picture. In fact, Scott keeps to his bad ways and only redeems himself (partially, I’d say) at the very end. It’s different, but was it intentional? We’re left in a most uncomfortable position as he pulls out of town with the equally culpable gambling lady, Claire Trevor. Even with George Macready, Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine & the other baddies put in their place, it all leaves a nasty taste. Scott capitalized on this type of character drama in the remarkable series of little morality plays he would start to make with Budd Boeticher a few years later, but this attempt doesn't come off.

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