Film Review – A LAWLESS STREET (1955)

Randolph Scott, Angela Lansbury, Warner Anderson, and Michael Pate in A Lawless Street (1955)A LAWLESS STREET (USA, 1955) ***
      Distributor: Columbia Pictures Corporation; Production Company: Columbia Pictures Corporation; Release Date: 15 December 1955 (USA), 5 February 1956 (UK); Filming Dates: 5 May 1955 – 25 May 1955; Running Time: 78m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: Mono (Western Electric Recording); Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Spherical; Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1; BBFC Cert: U.
      Director: Joseph H. Lewis; Writer: Kenneth Gamet (based on the novel “The Marshal of Medicine Bend” by Brad Ward); Executive Producer: ; Producer: Harry Joe Brown; Associate Producer: Randolph Scott; Director of Photography: Ray Rennahan; Music Composer: Paul Sawtell; Film Editor: Gene Havlick; Art Director: George Brooks; Set Decorator: Frank Tuttle; Sound: Frank Goodwin.
      Cast: Randolph Scott (Marshal Calem Ware), Angela Lansbury (Tally Dickenson), Warner Anderson (Hamer Thorne), Jean Parker (Cora Dean), Wallace Ford (Dr. Amos Wynn), John Emery (Cody Clark), James Bell (Asaph Dean), Ruth Donnelly (Molly Higgins), Michael Pate (Harley Baskam), Don Megowan (Dooley Brion), Jeanette Nolan (Mrs. Dingo Brion).
      Synopsis: A Marshal must face unpleasant facts about his past when he attempts to run a criminal gang out of town.
      Comment: Well-mounted Western with strong production values sees Scott as a marshal keeping the peace in a once tough mining town. Scrupulous businessmen want to ride the town of Scott and recapture the old days in order to line their pockets. Into the mix comes saloon singer Lansbury as Scott’s long-absent wife. Pate is the hired gunman who comes to challenge Scott. Hefty morality tale is well-acted and directed with bursts of action interspersed between the key ingredients of the morality tale. The message is a little heavily delivered, but this is ultimately a solid Western drama with Scott as imposing as ever.

Film Review – WESTBOUND (1959)

Related imageWESTBOUND (USA, 1959) ***
      Distributor: Warner Bros.; Production Company: Warner Bros.; Release Date: 25 April 1959 (USA), May 1959 (UK); Filming Dates: 8 October 1957-early November 1957; Running Time: 72m; Colour: WarnerColor; Sound Mix: Mono (RCA Sound Recording); Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Spherical; Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1; BBFC Cert: U.
      Director: Budd Boetticher; Writer: Berne Giler (based on a story by Berne Giler and Albert S. Le Vino); Executive Producer: ; Producer: Henry Blanke; Director of Photography: J. Peverell Marley; Music Composer: David Buttolph; Film Editor: Philip W. Anderson; Art Director: Robey Cooper (uncredited); Costumes: Marie Blanchard, Alexander Velcoff (both uncredited); Sound: Samuel F. Goode.
      Cast: Randolph Scott (Capt. John Hayes), Virginia Mayo (Norma Putnam), Karen Steele (Jeanie Miller), Michael Dante (Rod Miller), Andrew Duggan (Clay Putnam), Michael Pate (Mace), Wally Brown (Stubby), John Daheim (Russ (as John Day)), Walter Barnes (Willis – Stage Depot Cook).
      Synopsis: In 1864 a Union captain goes to Colorado to take over the stagecoach line and keep the flow of Western gold flowing and help the North win the Civil War.
      Comment: This was the sixth collaboration between Scott and director Boetticher. However, this time writer Burt Kennedy is missing from the mix. The screenplay treatment here is by Giler and as such the story veers much more into the traditional B-movie territory. the story sees Union soldier Scott take over the Overland stage company to ensure gold gets from California to the Union coffers. Duggan and his confederate sympathising town are out to stop him. Duggan is aided by Pate’s gunslinger. Scott is commanding, as ever, and Steele and Duggan also turn in strong performances. Pate is a stock heavy and Dante lacks depth as the romantic hero returning from the war to his bride Steele with only one arm. Mayo is Scott’s ex-flame, now married to Duggan. The pot boils nicely toward its shootout finale before the whole thing is wrapped up a little too slickly. Perhaps the weakest of the Scott/Boetticher Westerns, but still an entertaining ride.