Archive for October 24th, 2013

by John Greco

Anthony Mann’s 1958 western did not do well at the box office or with some critics when first released, though then critic and filmmaker Jean Luc Godard cited this film as one of the ten  best of 1958. The script was written by Reginald Rose, best known for his television work during the Golden Age of Television in the 1950’s, and was based on a novel called “The Border Jumpers” by Will C. Brown.  Similar to “The Naked Spur” Mann has a group of men and one woman isolated from the rest of society, the only social order that is exist is the one they themselves create.

Link Jones (Gary Cooper) is a reformed outlaw, now married with kids. He has been entrusted with his town’s savings to go to Fort Worth to find a teacher for their new school. The train he is traveling on is held up by his former gang and he, along with saloon singer Billie Ellis (Julie London), and gambler Sam Beasley (Arthur O’Connell) are left stranded. They walk across the wilderness coming upon his old gang’s hideout where they are greeted with suspicion by everyone except Dock Tobin (Lee J. Cobb), the aging half crazed alcoholic gang leader and father figure to Link who wants to believe his favorite son has come back. Link insist he has come back, lying to protect himself and his two traveling companions. Not the first time a Cooper character lied to save his life. In the William Wyler’s film, “The Westerner”, Coop’s Cole Harden  lies to Walter Brennan’s Judge Roy Bean about how well he knows Lily Langtry  in order to avoid a noose around his neck. (more…)

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