3 January 2014 | krocheav
An Entertaining 'B' Movie
Like others, I was ready to bypass this small timer. Cigar chomping Director of cheap horror films, William Castle must have been in a lower gear when he worked on this, but it actually helped. After a standard opening with a train robbery and lots of horse riding (just to give the look of an action flick) this show actually settles into slightly above average story telling. While a tad silly along the way, it does manage to achieve a mild level of character development.
Interesting was the melancholy piano playing by the lead character in the first bar he walks into --- after 15years in prison from the age of around 14 --- Makes you want to know a bit more about him. Underrated performer Macdonald Carey plays this role very convincingly and his horse riding skills are shown to good advantage. He gets good support from a well above average cast. Alexis Smith is certainly above par for this material, she looks beautiful and is convincing as the owner off the town's newspaper. Victor Jory was always reliable and the scene where he rides his superb white horse onto the front walkway of the newspaper office to rope-whip Carey is very well done. The film has several surprisingly brutal scenes considering its year and type - one of these involved a very young Russ Tamblyn (uncredited: playing the lead character as a boy) being beaten off camera by the local Marshal. Even TV man Hugh O'Brian impresses in his few scenes. Edgar Buchanan is, well... Edgar Buchanan.
The on-location filming in the Carlsbad Caves New Mexico adds handsomely to the atmosphere. Elizabeth Wilson does well with her story despite some lapses in the screenplay. Universal International must have had their own Technicolor Lab, as they were very often willing to make small scale westerns in the glory of true I.B. Technicolor. The DVD transfer for this little film is very good indeed. Looks like U.I. must have had the wisdom to keep their original negatives.
Between films about talking mules and an assortment of cowboys, Director of Photography Irving Glassberg did not get many chances to showcase his talents but does have a few specials to his name: "The Web" interesting Noir from'47 ~ "The Strange Door" '51 ~ "Tarnished Angels" '57 ~ "The Lawless Breed" '53
Expect little and it could entertain on a slow day.