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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

COWBOY (1958)

Glenn Ford & helmer Delmer Daves returned to the West after 3:10 TO YUMA/’57 with this less original oater. The film gets off to a corny start with Ford whopping it up as a dynamic cattleman who’s just arrived in Chicago with a herd to sell. He loses his shirt at poker and is forced to take on a greenhorn as a partner, Jack Lemmon. You can guess the rest: Jack cowboys up, earns Glenn’s grudging respect, and after lots of bad food, bucking horses, Indian skirmishes, cantina fights and a lost senorita, a wary friendship emerges. Ford is plainly uncomfortable showing all that gusto in the opening act, but both he and the film improve once they leave the city. Then Ford relaxes, banking his fires and letting the pressure slowly build to a boil. As the tenderfoot, Lemmon reminds you what a natural he was on-screen before he accumulated so many actorish mannerisms. And while it’s nice to see Brian Donlevy, playing an ex-sheriff who’s grown tired of killing, he doesn’t get enough screen time to make an impression.

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