Thursday, February 19, 2009

Flaming Feather

(1952, US, 77m)
d Ray Enright p Nat Holt sc Gerald Drayson Adams ph Ray Rennahan ed Elmo Billings ad John B. Godman m Paul Sawtell cast Sterling Hayden, Forrest Tucker, Arleen Whelan, Victor Jory, Barbara Rush, Richard Arlen

Sterling Hayden’s career in Hollywood was an extensive one, but the high points relatively few. Often terrific, his air of suffering integrity or self-loathing could lift even the most undistinguished oater. Flaming Feather is all too typical: the Sidewinder, an outlaw riding with Indians, effortlessly escapes capture for twenty years. Tex McCloud loses home and cattle in a raid, and with Hayden’s familiar resignation sets off in single-minded pursuit, whilst Whelan (conniving) and Rush (sweet) provide irrelevant plot strands that do little to distract his attention. Awkward moments in the script, an under-explored racial element and the over-egged (but appealing) score are balanced by verdant landscapes and direction which, like McCloud, is decent, unfussy and has a job to do, wrapping everything up in a focused if unremarkable 77 minutes.

© Time Out Film Guide

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