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The Law and Jake Wade (1958)

The Law and Jake Wade poster.jpg

This was one of a handful of westerns directed by John Sturges and it’s up there with his best. Working from a tight screenplay by William Bowers (adapting a novel by Marvin Albert), Robert Taylor plays the reformed outlaw turned marshal whose old Civil War buddy (Richard Widmark) turns up to find a stash of money they robbed back when the law was something quite different. Henry Silva does his usual stuff as a smiley-scary-faced baddy, Bones from Star Trek gets offed, Patricia Owens impresses as Jake’s feisty sweetheart, there are terrific set piece shootouts in a ghost town and the cinematography by Robert Surtees is just superb: watch Jake on his white horse looming out of the town at night … Excellent stuff. And for minutiae addicts, Sturges did uncredited work for Robert Parrish on Taylor’s other western that year, Saddle the Wind, in which he also essayed a reformed outlaw… Bowers also wrote those brilliant westerns The Gunfighter and Support Your Local Sheriff. It’s a living.

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About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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