High Lonesome (1950)

Approved   |    |  Western

High Lonesome (1950) Poster

When a sudden spurt of murders occurs in Texas Big Bend country, suspicion immediately falls on a young drifter who just moved to the area.

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  • John Drew Barrymore and John Archer in High Lonesome (1950)
  • John Drew Barrymore and Chill Wills in High Lonesome (1950)
  • John Drew Barrymore and Lois Butler in High Lonesome (1950)
  • John Drew Barrymore in High Lonesome (1950)
  • Lois Butler and Kristine Miller in High Lonesome (1950)
  • John Drew Barrymore in High Lonesome (1950)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

10 November 2010 | dougdoepke
Oddball Western
Oddball Western drama. There's no commanding central character to hang your hat on. Barrymore Jr. headlines, but his "Cooncat" stands more for misunderstood youth than as a force for good. Actually, several characters alternate in the spotlight, crippled old Davis (Ruysdael) being the most commanding, with his spirited daughter Abby (Miller) not far behind. Then too, there's a very un-Western hint of the spooky in the "ghost" figures lurking in the background. That "horse dragging" sequence is unusual and more brutal than expected. If Barrymore had padding to ease the abrasion, I couldn't spot it.

It's a pretty cluttered screenplay with a number of characters and episodes drifting in and out that makes it difficult at times to keep up with. Nonetheless, it's a good original story with a number of nice touches, including the barn dance; plus, the wide open vistas of southwest Texas (where the epic Giant {1955} was filmed). I also like the way that underneath the sub- plots, the film is really about the hapless kid finding a home. Note that the character Cooncat foreshadows a popular theme of the coming decade—misunderstood youth, especially as popularized by James Dean several years later.

I expect the un-tried Barrymore was given top billing for box office purposes. He tries hard, and after all his character is based on anger and frustration since nobody believes him and is about to hang him. The only scene I can spot where he clearly over-acts is when describing the two horsemen to Boatwhistle (Wills). Otherwise, I see him as giving a logically emotional performance.

Anyway, I liked the film as an entertainingly offbeat Western.

Critic Reviews

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