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  • Up until the 1960s, westerns were a HUGE genre for Hollywood-- particularly the 1930s-50s. Thousands of westerns were many that no one could possibly see them all. However, if you've seen a bunch there are certainly some common themes...and the theme in "Star in the Dust" has been seen before...quite a few times. However, there is nothing to set this one apart from the rest...and I would recommend you first see "Rio Bravo"...with a similar theme but simply a better film.

    Sheriff Jorden is set to hang Sam Hall (Richard Boone) but has a group of folks wanna string him up and not bother waiting until the court appointed time...and another group wants to rescue him. Jorden (John Agar) and his two deputies (James Gleason and Paul Fix) are deputies on hand to try to carry out his orders.

    Aside from an insanely vivid and crazy stunt at the end (I still can't believe they did this!) and an appearance by Mamie Van Doren, I can't see much to set this apart from a bazillion other westerns. More a time-passer than anything else.
  • This wasn't bad at all, apart from the fact that the sheriff must have been naively optimistic in thinking that he, a deputy and an old-timer could prevail against two different factions each consisting of a score or so men; in the event, he leaves it far too late when it comes to asking for outside help. And I thought both factions were somewhat overheated about the situation.

    There's a touch of "High Noon" about the film, in that the action takes place in a short time-span, with a clock occasionally showing what hour it is. In both films the sheriff doesn't have much support when it comes to conscientiously doing his duty.The suspense mounts through both films, though John Agar doesn't match Gary Cooper when it comes to re-acting to it.

    I see from other comments that I'm not alone in finding the repetitive ballad-singer an irritation; I almost cheered when he dashed for cover during a shoot-out; what a pity he didn't get in the way of a bullet.

    The best fight is between two women, one of whom ends up with blood on her, which is more than can be said for the men who get shot; they just clutch at unmarked shirts. And when someone gets knocked on the head it's out of camera shot, which I thought was a convention that had been done away with some years before the film was made.

    Trivia fans may like to note that this is the second Western in which Delmonico's famous restaurant is mentioned in some Agar dialogue; Harry Carey jnr taunts him about eating there in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon".
  • This is the story of the most desperate gamble the west has ever known , dealing with a sheriff of Gunlock named Bill (John Agar) scheming on legally hanging a murderer called Sam Hall (Richard Boone) who shot three farmers found on cattle land , at sundown , and then he defied the law to hang him. As at the saloon , betting is 8 to 3 he won't make it . Bill is a tough ,reckless sheriff and with his own hands he put the rope around his neck . There is a strong confrontation between settlers and cattlemen all around the movie . Our two-fisted marshal has to contend with farmers who want to Lynch the prisoner , and cattlemen who want to help him escape . Shortly after, the farmers hope to lynch him before he can be rescued ; and Hall plans for getaway with his girlfriend Nellie (Coleen Gray) and along the way Bill is treacherously duped by his fianceé (Mamie Van Doren) . Sheriff Jorden is most concerned with finding out who hired Hall : there are several suspects , one of them results to be the sheriff's future brother-in-law called Ballard (Leif Erikson) . ¨Five minutes were all he needed , but five guns were betting the time would run out¨. "The Sun's setting for me. It'd be a shame to miss it" (original herald-all caps) .

    Entertaining Western including action , thrills , fights , shot'em up and a peculiar love story between John Agar and the gorgeous Mamie Van Doren . The story is plain and simple , a strong confrontation with a twisted intrigue behind , as a sheriff faces off enemies alone and being abandoned to his fate by the gutless townspeople . An agreeable and slight tale , almost rudimentary , though full of cliches , as the script lines too often settle for crude routine ; however , packing some surprises . Bursting with appealing , charming characters, including decent filmmaking and interpretation . The final stand-off results to be tense , charged and riveting . It is a brilliant studio of a mob mentality in ¨Fred Zinneman's High Noon¨ -the Prototype for a Hundred Westerns- style with provoking individual characterizations , and paced in psychological tendry . As the desolation and bleakness of this town stands in contrast to the heroism starred by the brave sheriff who is betrayed by his girlfriend , too . The narration is perfectly adjusted , from the beginning , until the final showdown and being approximately developed in appropriate runtime : 80 min . John Agar makes a pretty good sheriff of Gunlock planning to hang a killer . Agar played a number of Westerns , some of them directed by John Ford as Fort Apache , She wore a yellow ribbon , and Along the great divide , Johnny Reno , Chisum , Undefeated , Cavalry command ; but he also performed other genres as Wartime : Hell raiders , Sands of Iwo Jima, and standing out in Sci-Fi/Terror genre , in fact he became a Science-Fiction icon , including titles as Tarantula , Revenge of the creature , The mole people , The brain from planet Arous , Attack of the puppet people , Curse of the swamp creature , Women of the prehistoric planet , Invisible invaders , Fear , Body Bags , The daugher of the Dr. Jekill , among others . There stands out a fine support cast , such as : Richard Boone as Sam Hall, Leif Erickson as a leading suspect , Coleen Gray as his sister , the elderly James Gleason , Randy Stuart , Stanley Andrews , Paul Fix and Henry Morgan .

    Atmospheric musical score by Frank Skinner and note the continuing use of ballads by a minstrel along the streets with song ¨Sam Hall¨ written and performed by Terry Gilkyson as The Music Man . It packs a colorful and brilliant cinematography in Technicolor by John Russell , shot in Universal Studios ; Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California . Produced in middle-budget by Albert Zugsmith , here director Charles F. Haas managed to create a nice work of art with fine acting , appropriate scenarios from production designers Alexander Golitzen and Sweeney , and attractive plot . As he makes a picture really intriguing , not merely because Charles Haas 's tersely economic narration of his material , but because Universal Pictures made a decission to cut budget and reducing locations . Haas worked heavily for Universal, and was assigned to write and produce Moonrise (1948). He soon returned to making industrial films, then turned to television directing. He made his feature directorial debut in 1956, and turned out a string of low-budget westerns, gangster and juvenile-delinquent pictures - several with third-string Marilyn Monroe wannabe Mamie Van Doren - before returning to television. In the early 1950s he, along with such Hollywood notables as actor Robert Ryan and director John Sturges, founded the Oakwood School, a private academy in Los Angeles geared toward "progressive" education. As Charles Haas directed films of all kinds of genres such as : Screaming Eagles ,The Big Operator , Girls town , Showdown at Abilene , Wild Heritage, Summer Love , Platinum High School , The beat generation . And especially working in known TV series , such as : Perry Mason , Bonanza , Hawaiian Eye , 77 Sunset Strip , Broken arrow ,Man Without a Gun, Death Valley Days , Charlie Chan , Zane Grey , Route 66, Maverick , Caravan , The Mickey Mouse Club , Dick Tracy , among others . Rating : 6/10 . Acceptable and passable western. Well worth watching .
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I've just seen this film on TV, never heard of it before, but watched it through because of 2 pleasant surprises. One, a "blink & you'll miss him" appearance by a very young Clint Eastwood in one of the early scenes. He's one of the characters that annoys the Sheriff by commenting on it a being a "big day", i.e. Sam Hall's due to hang.

    Also, Johnny Cash covered the song that runs throughout the movie on one of his last albums, American IV: The Man Comes Around. Its well worth a listen as its a much more raucous rendition than the one in the film & Johnny seems to take great pleasure in recounting Sam's evil deeds.

    As to the movie, good, old fashioned B-movie & a pleasant way to pass a Saturday afternoon.
  • Star in the Dust is directed by Charles Haas and adapted to screenplay by Oscar Brodney from the novel "Law Man" written by Lee Leighton. It stars John Agar, Mamie Van Doren, Coleen Gray, Richard Boone, Leif Erickson, Harry Morgan, Randy Stuart and James Gleason. Music is by Frank Skinner (Joseph Gershenson supervising) and Technicolor cinematography is by John L. Russell Jr.

    We are in the town of Gunlock and Sheriff Bill Jorden (Agar) is set to hang hired killer Sam Hall (Boone) at sunset. Only he finds himself in the middle of the Ranchers and Farmers because one lot want to help Hall escape, and the other want to lynch him post haste. With the exception of his two trusty deputies, Sheriff Jorden - already having to carry around the weight of not being as good as his dad was at the job - can't trust anyone and has it all to do to ensure things are done legal like.

    It begins with a shot of a Sheriff's badge in the dust, and sure enough from that moment on the feeling of watching a poor High Noon/Rio Bravo knock off is hard to shake. Pic is erring towards psychological smarts with a half decent screenplay put forward by Brodney, and the cast can't be called for being poor since most are good enough when given enough screen time to work with. Though it has to be said that Agar is just a touch too wooden, overplaying his weary lawman act and it grows tiresome entering the last third of film.

    Pacing is deadly slow, and as a number of characters are introduced along the way, there's barely any action to cling onto as a point of dramatic worth. There's a decent fist fight on show, and a wickedly enjoyable girl scrap, which even involves any weapons that are handy! A brilliant piece of stunt work in the finale is to be highly applauded, but other than that we are sort of plodding through to the end. Biggest crime comes in under using Boone as the villain, he's on in it for short moments at a time, and he's hardly given a biting script to spout.

    The guitar based musical score is quite dreadful and irritatingly it's practically non stop when the story moves out of the jailhouse. I understand why the usually reliable Skinner was going for sombre tones in the play, but it's a dirge, and when the narrative perks up a notch, the guitar shifts into something that sounds like it belongs in animation Batman instead of a psychological Western. Bonus is the colour photography, lovely lenses from Russell and the TCM print is gorgeous. But again there's an irk, for the story rarely ventures out of the town so we are denied and sparkling Technicolor landscapes.

    It does have fans, and it really isn't a bad Western as such, it's just not a good one either. It goes through the motions and wastes a good cast and potential for character dynamism. 5/10

    Footnote: Clint Eastwood is in the mix for a walk on part, keep a look out for him.
  • This seems to be yet another telling of the Tom Horn saga. In this incarnation, Sam Hall(Horn?)waits in jail and torments the sheriff, as various citizen groups attempt to break him out, for various, and obvious reasons. The minstrel, wandering, singing, and updating the plot for the viewers, becomes very annoying. Features an interesting, if not great cast, but the plot drags.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Showdown in Abilene" director Charles F. Haas' western "Star in the Dust" qualifies as routine in several respects and is largely predictable. This is the yarn about the lawman sworn to protect his murderous prisoner until he can slip a noose around his neck. Cowboy stalwart John Agar of "Fort Apache" stars as Sheriff Bill Jorden, the grim son of a sheriff determined to see justice carried out despite what his father would have done in similar circumstances. The desperado in his custody is Sam Hall (Richard Boone of "Man without a Star"), and he has been sentenced to swing for killing three men. The town of Gunlock, where Jorden wears the star, is divided between the opposing forces of ranchers and farmers. Roughly speaking, the Oscar Brodney screenplay, based on Leigh Leighton's novel, draws on the historical demise of Tom Horn. Haas isn't adept as building up tension, but he has assembled a sturdy cast, with a young Clint Eastwood walking on in one scene, about seven minutes into the action, to chat briefly with our hero. Paul Fix is excellent as Jorden's deputy, and career character actor James Gleason is lively as the man who built the gallows. The mystery behind everything that our badge-totting protagonist wants to resolve is the identity of the man who hired Hall. Obviously, Haas took some cues from the Gary Cooper classic "High Noon." Unfortunately, Haas isn't as adept at scaring up suspense the same way Fred Zinnemann did in "High Noon." Mamie Van Doren spices up the cast. "Star in the Dust" appears to have been lensed on the Universal Pictures' backlot. Production values are good.
  • bkoganbing17 May 2015
    Star In The Dust is certainly an illusion to where Gary Cooper's sheriff's badge wound up at the end of High Noon. But John Agar's star never wound up there as he walks a fine line between homesteaders and cattlemen in this rather grim Universal western.

    Hired killer for the cattlemen Richard Boone is scheduled to hang at sundown. But Agar's facing a real problem. The homesteaders just want to lynch him before the appointed hour because the cattlemen are fixing to break him out. Agar would also like to find out who exactly hired Boone to intimidate the homesteaders. He did more than intimidate, he's hanging because he killed three of them.

    Head of the cattlemen is Leif Erickson and his sister Mamie Van Doren is supposed to marry Agar. Boone has a girlfriend also in Coleen Gray, a plain Jane sort who never got any attention until Boone. Now she's ready to do anything for her man.

    Terry Gilkyson, country singer and songwriter sings The Ballad of Sam Hall which is Boone's character and serves as a kind of Greek chorus to the events.

    Though Agar's star never winds up in the dust, the film is a decent enough B western, grim and violent.
  • For a Western movie this was very boring and had very little going on. There is no real plot and only a couple of muddled and drama-free sub-plots.

    The movie is about some hit-man in a cell who is awaiting hanging for the killing of some cattleboys. The sheriff wants a peaceful hanging (!) without having to prove that he's as good a Sheriff as his father was. And a couple of other minor characters serve no purpose other than to complicate matters for petty reasons.

    There are a few silly fight scenes that remind of the A-Team with the wooden furniture falling apart very easily. And, as always, there are embarrassingly fake fights in which there is no penetration seen or any

    shown. Were there any R-rated movies in the 50's? But the most annoying thing about this movie is the songs but the 'singing narrator' who only ever uses the same tune but uses marginally different words each time. Ugh! If this is on TV on a Sunday afternoon…miss it. Go out for a walk, even if it's raining.
  • Very Gunsmokish-type movie. Standard 1950s Western Movie fare with a righteous sheriff outnumbered by the opposition, with the standard range war backdrop of farmers versus cattlemen. Opposition naturally led by a powerful baron who practically owns the town. Another standard theme. A love story thrown in, complicated by its trail that leads from the sheriff's office straight to the baron's ranch house. A ballad singer on a guitar, accompanies the audience throughout the film, adding an interesting feature to the movie. Not unentertaining. Slightly an above average production.