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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

THE LAWLESS BREED (1953)

This Raoul Walsh Western gave Rock Hudson one of first starring roles as a hard-luck Texan who killed more people in self-defense than many gunfighters shot on purpose. Even Wild Bill Hickok backs off of this guy. It’s supposedly based on the gunslinger’s auto-bio, but it feels rigged, as drama & as defense. Rock was awful pretty in his salad days, and awful raw as an actor, especially when he goes for a big effect. But the film gets help from Walsh’s clear action staging and from its better than average cast. Julie Adams, Dennis Weaver, Lee Van Cleef & John McIntire all get their licks in. Walsh (or someone) was even able to tamp down on Universal’s typically drenched TechniColor. Watch for a bit of Civil War footage that was borrowed from KANSAS RAIDERS/’50, another Universal Western that’s now on the same damn DVD disc!

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