30 December 2010 | jayraskin1
Ray Milland gives an excellent performance to lift this above most of the Westerns of the period. Milland often lifted movies with his generally laid back style and occasional moments of striking intensity. One thinks of "Dial M for Murder," "X, the Man with X-ray eyes," "Love Story," and his appearances on "Columbo." He is like a great singer who knows you only have to hit a few striking notes to make a memorable song.
His character, Johnny Carter, is a gentle, humorous, trick shooter and vaudeville performer who dislikes violence and enjoys women. The character foreshadows the wonderful gambler, Maverick, that James Gardner would make famous seven or eight years later. Milland has the roguish charm of Cary Grant and a little of the blushing modesty of George Reeve.
Hedy Lamarr doesn't come off quite as well. This movie was two years after her hit movie "Samson and Delilah," She brings only a little of Delilah's sexiness to her role. At moments she does foreshadow Joan Crawford in "Johnny Guitar," but unfortunately there's not enough for her to create a memorable character as Crawford did in that role.
Macdonald Carey shines as a sheriff who abuses his power and gives law and order a bad name. He is not as psychotic as Jack Palance in "Shane," but he does stoop to shooting men in the back and refusing to fight fair.
As others have noted, the Technicolor is good and the movie is pretty fast paced, with enough plot twists and action sequences to hold our attention. Fans of Westerns should enjoy it and fans of acting should appreciate Milland's delightful performance.