The strange factor is what is foremost in this odd and artificial Western. Most Movie Westerns try to avoid false images that betray their fictional accounts. Here Director Fritz Lang has no notions. He seems to revel in the obvious false presentation of it all.
It is this wrapping of Studio Sets that announce their cardboard makeup rather than going at length to obfuscate that is troublesome. But, there are a few striking Scenes that linger in the imagination. The one with the Barroom Belles riding their Johns like broken Stallions stands out among a few others.
It is not a highly enjoyable Mythological trip to the old West, but that was probably the intent. After all, it is an Adult Tale all the way. The Story of a Rape and Murder and the inevitable, tireless, revenge rampage is hardly the stuff usually seen with Cowpokes among wide open spaces.
The antithesis of aesthetics doesn't always work here and there is some miscasting, most notably Arthur Kennedy who has a great snarl but falls way short in the wooing Scenes, and cannot overcome being blown off the Screen by Marlene Dietrich. But overall, this is viewable because of its quirkiness rather than despite of it.
On a final note, be prepared for the most intrusive accompanied Ballad, that like so many Westerns of the Fifties, felt it necessary to sing the Plot as it moves along. This is definitely the Worst and almost single handedly removes this from riveting to ridiculous.
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