Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tall Man Riding

(1955, US, 83min)
d Lesley Selander p David Weisbart sc Joseph Hoffman ph Wilfrid M. Cline ed Irene Morra ad Stanley Fleischer m Paul Sawtell cast Randolph Scott, Peggy Castle, Dorothy Malone, William Ching, John Baragrey, Robert Barret, John Dehner, Paul Richards, Lane Chandler

Scott is the Tall Man, riding for vengeance. What enhances the generic B-values of the picture, however, is how his righteousness is wrong-footed from the start, slowly starting to look like stiff-necked pride; likewise the old tale of trouble between ploughmen and cattlemen employs a gradual and natural shifting of sympathies. Scott doesn’t go in for Stewart-esque neuroses, but there are rumblings beneath the granite face as he starts to doubt the course of action he’s initiated. The men (fearsome patriarch, oily businessman) puff their chests out and it’s left to self-sufficient womenfolk Castle and Malone to get them out of trouble and tell it to 'em straight. Selander directs with efficient discretion, most notably in a strange shoot-out in a darkened cabin, to an overblown but not unappealing score; and a perfunctory happy ending belies the unusually textured morality of preceding events.

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