After seeing the charming Western Rachel and the Stranger,I took a look at the TV listings,and found out that the BBC were following the screening with a Western from Fritz Lang. Previously only knowing Lang for his Sci-Fi,Film Noir and late Adventure movies,I excitingly got set to enter Lang's Western metropolis.
Working as a ranch hand, Vern Haskell finds his peaceful life to be left broken when his fiancée Beth Forbes is killed during a robbery. Finding no help from the law,Haskell leaves his peaceful life behind,and goes in search of the outlaws. Finding one of the robbers dying on the ground after being betrayed by his former pal,Haskell is told of a game called Chuck-a-Luck. Locating the main salon where the game is played,Haskell crosses paths with Altar Keane,who along with getting lucky on Chuck-a-Luck,is now wearing some of Forbes jewellery.
View on the film:
Locked from giving a full crack of the whip by studio owner Howard Hughes taking control of the editing and his relationship with the lead actress being so "frosty" that they ended up not speaking to each other during production,director Fritz Lang & cinematographer Hal Mohr are still able to find a saddle which allows them to enter the Wild West with style,as expertly delivered overlapping images cast an evil under the sun Film Noir atmosphere under the West,with the burning hot sun dimming as Haskell takes another step to finding Forbes killers. Possibly spurred on by the production "issues" Lang shootout with a peculiar comedic side,which steps into view as all the dames take the cowboys on in a piggyback ride contest.
Being a diva on set (with her demanding Mohr to make her look younger) Marlene Dietrich wonderfully transfers her off-screen confidence to the screen,via giving Altar Keane a brashness which keeps all the boys in line. Haunted by the sight of his dead wife, Arthur Kennedy gives a marvellous performance as Haskell,whose sweet heroic smile is tainted by Kennedy as loner who finds himself unable to stop the transformation into an outlaw,as Haskell gets his revenge with a game of Chuck-a- Luck.
2 out of 2 found this helpful