14 August 2007 | Doylenf
Absorbing western tale with spectacular Wyoming scenery and good cast...
JUBAL takes about forty-five minutes to set up its tale of revenge and murder and lust in the dust, but once the plot gets into high gear it becomes highly watchable until the conclusion.
GLENN FORD is an unhappy man on the run who's taken in by rancher ERNEST BORGNINE and his wife VALERIE FRENCH, earning his pay as a helper and suddenly promoted to foreman, much to the annoyance of ROD STEIGER, who wanted the job and also has his eyes on Borgnine's wife.
Ford spends most of the story trying to fend off the advances of Valerie French, who turns out to be a real Jezebel creating trouble between Ford and Borgnine when she makes her hubby believe the lies that jealous Steiger has told him. Before you know it, Ford is in deep trouble with nowhere to run except to seek the help of some peace loving pioneers on a wagon train, and a woman (FELICIA FARR) who wants to help him fight injustice.
Delmer Daves directs the actors through their paces with skill, except that he allows ROD STEIGER to chew too much of the scenery. Steiger struts about as if he's still playing Jud in OKLAHOMA! and never lets up for a moment being a nasty, snarling, cowardly villain. He's so despicable you can't help hating him.
On the other hand, CHARLES BRONSON shows considerable skill as Ford's friend, a gunslinger who saves Ford's life at a crucial moment. The film starts off a little too slowly before it gets to the mid-section where things really start to heat up. From then on, it's a top-rate western with strong performances from most of the cast.
Borgnine may be playing a "nice guy" for a change, but he's still obnoxious and boorish in his behavior and he sometimes overdoes the hearty laughter. His admission that he knows nothing about women or how to treat them, reminds me that "Marty" had the same problem.
Summing up: Good western, excellent photography, nice scenery and one of Glenn Ford's most underrated performances.