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Tuesday, June 3, 2008


After ALL THE KING’S MEN in 1949, writer/megger Robert Rossen had a miserable ‘50s before returning to form with THE HUSTLER in 1961. Hardly the most fluid of helmers, this Western misfires from the start as haunted "Awards Officer" Gary Cooper tries to uncover the roots of true heroism while delivering five Medal of Honor inductees to base camp. When they’re ambushed on the way back, events let Cooper reveal his true grit while his motley crew (a lively bunch: Van Heflin, Richard Conte, Dick York, Michael Callan & a surprisingly good Tab Hunter) all descend into savagery. Rita Hayworth is around playing a traitorous expatriate to add a forced sexual note to the mix. Rossen gives everyone far too much to say when actions could have told the tale.

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