- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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- kevin sellers
This interesting Anthony Mann film was made as the director was transitioning from noirs to westerns and it very much mirrors that change. Indeed, with John Alton's shadowy, moody cinematography, and its tale of moral corruption (in this case, race prejudice) and its uncompromisingly bleak ending it can almost be called a western noir. I also agree with previous reviewer Andrew that Robert Taylor's performance is very good, for the reasons he stated. I could be wrong but I think Taylor, who can so often be sappy or dull in period pieces or urban drama, really came into his own late in his career when he decided to saddle up. Unfortunately, working against these aforementioned pluses is a terrible performance by Paula Raymond as a liberal lawyer who champions the unpopular cause of Native American rights (basically the kind of person the real life Robert T. would rat out at the HUAC hearings, but we'll let that irony pass.) She is so stiff and one dimensional in her reading of lines and body language that she makes Maureen O'Hara look like Meryl Streep. And since she is the moral conscience of the film her crappy acting really hurts. Also, Guy Trosper's screenplay leaves a lot to be desired. The Indians are all noble. The white crooked lawyer and his henchmen are mustache twirling evil. Ambiguity? Trosper seems never to have heard of it. So, balancing the good with the not so good, let's give this movie a solid B.P.S. A 1950s, black and white western is initially jarring, but Alton's camera is so expressive that after five or ten minutes you don't mind.
Terrible Title - Great Story
It's obvious that to this get this 1950 movie made, a popular non-Indian actor had to be in the lead. However in spite of that, Robert Taylor showed a near Lon Chaney-like change with his face. Instead of just resting on their Mediterranean looks, that some actors used to carry this type of role, Taylor [like aforementioned Chaney] shaped his facial muscles to what this role of an Indian called for. I was surprised at his constant hold [in every close-up] of what was essentially a stony, stoic, angry native American face. This and the great performance by Taylor made this movie come alive.It was refreshing to see actual native Americans in the supporting roles as well as the regular extras who rode and carried the burden of the realistic stunts. I was shocked at the Pre-ASCPA scenes of sheep and horses being caught in the explosions. A remake with better dialog and deeper backstory would be great!produced
An Amazing Movie
- Randy Rector
This film has just got to be made available on DVD! I was simply amazed at how it dealt with themes which were basically taboo in 1950: a sympathetic view of Native Americans on the frontier, and an empowered woman with a law degree who could summon federal troops (and who nevertheless retained all of her femininity). Once you get over the idea that a white man is portraying an Indian (but so well done in Robert Taylor's gut-wrenching performance), it's easy to see why this film was not well known: it makes the white man of that time look bad. Still, it doesn't do so in a preachy kind of way as films today tend to do. It just shows a realisitc portrayal of the collision of two cultures. It deserves to be widely known, so please get those DVDs out there!
- Henry Hoffman
I highly agree w/ all of the postings about Anthony Mann's THE DEVIL'S DOORWAY (beautifully realized in its photography by John Alton, who also did those other classics T-MEN & RAW DEAL). TDD could qualify as the first film noir western! & I would like to acknowledge the merits of Robert Taylor, in the penultimate performance of his career.
Native American Themes
- Carrie McLachlan
This movie touches on several important Native American stereotypes and themes and would be great to show in a Native American film course (if it were available). Here are a few that come to mind:Cultural genocideVanishing IndianIndians as good enough to fight for the U.S. but not to be citizensNative American legal statusEncroachment of white settlersEarth as MotherEarth as sacred place where ancestors are buriedRacial bigotry/racial superiorityRitual burial of deadCeremonial rite of passage into adulthoodReservations as prisonsIndigenous language use/verses speaking language of colonizer
- David Jackson
of the conflict between Indians and white settlers in the West, particularly in Wyoming, in the case of this film. I enjoyed this film and consider it to be one of the best Westerns ever made. Great story and cinematography. I also consider the performance given by Robert Taylor to be one of his best. It needs to be released on DVD.
- Patti De Leon
This is a highly underrated film! A definite must see for all! Especially, those interested in the western genre.Robert Taylor is a very underrated film actor. Sit down and have a view. A film which is ahead of its time.
- Peter Mascuch
Anthony Mann directed three great Westerns at the beginning of the 1950's, setting up his extraordinary decade-long run within the genre. Most people have seen THE FURIES and WINCHESTER 73, both of which are available on video, but this unavailable gem is much harder to see and neverthless just as good, if not better. Deals effectively with racism against Native Americans forty years before DANCES WITH WOLVES, allegorizes the theme of the returning veteran, has a terrific performance from Robert Taylor late in his career, and superb black and white cinematography from one of the masters, John Alton (who had previously worked with Mann on several film noirs). Well worth a look.
Only moving pictures of my grand father
- clyde de crow
20 yrs. Ive seen it on tv and now I would like coppies for the rest of the family for great great grand kids!! They rented his team of draft horses and tac in fruita co. at the co. national monument and T. lazy seven ranch<<<< maroon bells aspen. The only motion pictures, and speaking part...... ever!!!