Sunday, August 24, 2014


D: Andre De Toth.  Robert Ryan (THE NAKED SPUR) is Blaise Starrett, a cranky rancher who lives among a small community of disgruntled ranchers in a lawless, snowbound wilderness.  Starrett gets into a petty disagreement over a barbwire fence with a fellow stubborn rancher  that results in verbal death threats. Surprisingly, the rancher's wife (Tina Louise of TV's GILLIGAN'S ISLAND) offers her smokin' body to Starrett in exchange for the sake of her husband's life and to keep the peace.  As tensions and tempers mount, things only get worse when a psychopathic posse led by the cold-blooded Bruhn (played by usually jovial Burl Ives  of TV's RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER) who gallops into town and declares new rules.  One of the crazy new rules demands that the ranchers' wives be available to Ives and his posse on demand!  This is one of the final straws that force the ranchers to set aside their petty differences to plot and dispose of the despicable mini-despot.  In typical noir style, things get much worse as the suspense and body count mounts.

As usual, Ryan is excellent as the perpetually pissed Starrett and he's more than adequately supported by a colorful cast of B thespians that include Elisha Cook Jr. (THE MALTESE FALCON), Betsy Jones-Moreland (CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA), Alan Marshall (William Castle's THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL), David Nelson (TV's OZZIE & HARRIET), Lance Fuller (THIS ISLAND EARTH), Helen Westcott (MONSTER ON THE CAMPUS) and a few other familiar faces.  Ives is good in an atypical sinister role that is similar to the novel use of Sebastian Cabot (FAMILY AFFAIR's mannered Mr. French) in Joseph H. Lewis' TERROR IN A TEXAS TOWN (1958).  The terse hard-boiled dialog is courtesy of veteran scribe Philip Yordan (JOHNNY GUITAR).  From the eye-patched director of Vincent Price's 3D classic HOUSE OF WAX (1953).  The image is 16x9 framed at 1.78, from a pristine but grainy print.  Quality is fine for a triple feature, single disc budget-price DVD.  The MGM single DVD is out of print and pricey.   Here's the amazon link but the disc can be found even cheaper at liquidators and dollar stores.

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