Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1956. Columbia Pictures Corporation. Screenplay by Russell S. Hughes, Delmer Daves, based on the novel by Paul Wellman. Cinematography by Charles Lawton Jr.. Produced by William Fadiman. Music by David Raksin. Production Design by Carl Anderson. Costume Design by Jean Louis. Film Editing by Al Clark.
Glenn Ford shows up near death on a sprawling ranch belonging to Ernest Borgnine, who in his jovial kindness immediately gives him work as a cowhand. Ford catches the eye of Borgnine’s frustrated, lonely wife and inspires the jealousy of Rod Steiger, (basically reprising his role from Oklahoma but without the singing), and despite all efforts to stay out of trouble ends up igniting a firestorm of conflict in no time. Panoramic vistas, sturdy direction by Delmer Daves and a plot that places Othello on the American frontier make for a sterling Western, one of the unsung classics of the fifties that succeeds on all counts. The narrative is impressively efficient, leaving out all unnecessary details and focusing on the highest points of conflict between characters, as a result maintaining a riveting tension throughout its entire running time that never lets up until the explosive conclusion.