7 November 2018 | museumofdave
Too Briefly, Florence Bates Gives It Oxygen
This is sort of a desultory effort on the part of the star, Joel McCrea, a man who usually takes command of a scene merely by his presence, but here looks tired and like he would rather be on his own ranch instead of this talky, studio-bound production. The thing probably looked good on paper--and if you've got the knowing sultriness of Yvonne DeCarlo, things are set up for some hot romance, at the very least. But the script is a little unfocused, and there's a lot of chatter about the legal Vigilante group, and Sidney Blackmer attempts to show some menace by mouthing menacing lines--but for an action-packed Western or a thoughtful revisionist history lesson, this effort falls flat, and would be a loss leader except for two brilliant, lively scenes with character actor Florence Bates, sporting an eye patch and plenty of life as her own Shanghai Lil (helped along by a massive, silent Tor Johnson) and this viewer perked up and wondered how the rest never recovered; even the final confrontation lacks either suspense or tension, and just allows almost everybody to go home quietly.