Anthony Mann’s this classic technicolor cinemascope western was doomed at box office and didn’t get critical appraisal when released; it was only Jean Luc Godard who hailed it the best of
he’d seen that
year. Maybe audience didn’t like to see
mid age Gary Cooper or the western macho hero who seems so helpless and
non violent on screen until climax. Hollywood
Gary Cooper played Link Jones, the man who left behind his violent past with gang but he’s confronting them again after a train robbery. He’s civilized and non violent now but the brutal and ruthless gang lead by his old associate-uncle Dock Tobin is too hard to handle. His struggle to be human or turn animal is more pushed to the later side by sexual tension between a woman who loves him and Dock. Though Cooper is average on act, the film bears barn storming performance by Lee J. Cobb as grunting voiced Dock Tobin. Mann’s auteur camera encapsulates the ghost town of Lassoo in grand western style especially in the climax confrontations.
Must watch for all classic western fans.