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The Cimarron Kid (1952)

The Cimarron Kid poster.jpg

This is the first western Audie Murphy shot after working with John Huston and here he’s directed by Budd Boetticher, himself an accomplished filmmaker who would make several classics in the genre, particularly in his Randolph Scott cycle. “I became a western director because they thought I looked like one and they thought I rode better than anyone else,” said Boetticher. “And I didn’t know anything about the west.” I He became a specialist in the genre of course. It was his first film in Technicolor and his first in a contract with Universal. We have a story by Louis Stevens and Kay Lenard (one of those admirable women who wrote for the screen) about the Dalton Gang. One of their sidekicks is released from jail after serving time on trumped up charges and he is led to returning to the gang after being framed again. He gets involved in a double bank raid that goes tragically wrong with three of the brothers killed and is on the run, chased by a dozen posses in the Five Nation territory. He falls for Carrie (Beverly Tyler), daughter of a former sympathiser, rancher Pat (Roy Roberts), and the two remaining gang members and himself need to get money to get free. There are deceits, betrayals and eventual entrapment. What has a man got to do after he’s made so many mistakes? Murphy’s acting was improving and his screen persona as a simple guy trying to do the right thing was finessed here and sent up rather sympathetically by the Coen Bros in their last outing, Hail Caesar!  Spoiler alert! He was supposed to die in the script but because he was getting popular he survives in the end.

About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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