Watched Jul 08, 2012
Jacob Olsen’s review:
Rosemary Maddox: «For three years, all Jeff McCloud had to do was whistle and I'd come runnin'.»
Louise Merritt: «What happened?»
Rosemary Maddox: «He stopped whistlin' and I stopped runnin'.»
- Rosemary telling it out straight.
Nicholas Ray's first Western, and he filled what basically is a rather straightforward story with richness and complexity.
What Ray was really good at, was capturing outsiders and misfits. In this movie it is the people living in trailer camps at the dusty rodeo towns who are in focus. Robert Mitchum gives a near definitive study of the dignified, worn out, broken down hero in the role of former rodeo star Jeff McCloud. By chance he is recognized by Wes Merritt (Arthur Kennedy), who in need of money to buy a ranch for him and his wife (Susan Hayward) asks for McClouds help to become a rodeo star himself. As success gets to Merritt's head he gradually turns his interest away from his goal - and his wife - a situation that seems well fit for McCloud.
Both Kennedy and Hayward also delivers excellent performances in what might very well be the best rodeo Western ever made.