20 April 2005 | bushrod56
Pretty darned solid
Finally was able to view this semi-famous film (due mainly, I suspect, because of the Raoul Walsh/remake of HIGH SIERRA connection). Is it 'better' than HIGH SIERRA? A question, IMO, that doesn't need to be asked, much less answered. Both are pretty riveting pieces of entertainment for their respective genres (gangster & western). I'll admit I had some innocent fun in comparing the similarities of both. The thing I was struck by was the darker, more devious Malone character in the role Joan Leslie had in HIGH SIERRA and also feeling that maybe Joel McCrea was miscast; his screen persona is the 'stalwart and true' type and not an out and out bandit. His only chance to fit into a criminal role would be when it's 'forced' on him and I don't recall that being the case in this one. But why quibble? Here we have the superior art direction and fast action (mostly in the second half, true) typical of WB at it's late 40's/early 50's peak. This sort of thing makes up for a lot of any kind of casting/scripting deficiencies in my book. And what an under-rated actress is Virginia Mayo! She can be fiery one moment and then quiet and subtle the next. Very desirable in this one. I mostly prefer my westerns in good color, but think perhaps this one was pessimistic and dark enough to warrant B&W without decreasing the entertainment value (as in Walsh's PURSUED).