Cowboys and ranchers have to put their differences aside when a gang of outlaws, led by army captain Jack Bruhn, decide to spend the night in a little Western town.
Robert Ryan ... Blaise Starrett
Burl Ives ... Jack Bruhn
Tina Louise ... Helen Crane
Alan Marshal ... Hal Crane
Venetia Stevenson ... Ernine, Vic's Daughter
David Nelson ... Gene, Bruhn's Gang
Nehemiah Persoff ... Dan, Starret's Foreman
Jack Lambert ... Tex (Bruhn's gang)
Frank DeKova ... Denver, Bruhn's Gang (as Frank deKova)
Lance Fuller ... Pace, Bruhn's Gang
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Larry Teter (town barber) (as Elisha Cook)
Dabbs Greer ... Doc Langer, Veterinarian
Betsy Jones-Moreland ... Mrs. Preston (as Betsey Jones-Moreland)
Helen Westcott ... Vivian
This excellent western has a very dark mood from beginning to end, you can call it a white noir film because of the ever present snow. Robert Ryan is Blaise Starrett, a man who wants open range and is going to kill Hal Crane, the husband of Helen (Tina Louise), because of barbed wire. When Jack Bruhn(Burl Ives) shows up with his gang, everything changes and they become prisoners in their own town. There is tremendous, violent impact in a scene where the women are obliged to dance with members of the gang. The situation becomes unbearable and Ryan will find a way out that might seem unreasonable at first, but when exposed by him to Bruhn will make a lot of sense. Andre De Toth directed many good westerns with Randolph Scott, but nothing compared to this one. Great cinematography in black and white by Russel Harlan, who also did The Last Hunt( there is something common in them). Good performances by David Nelson and Venetia Stevenson, both popular with teenagers of those times. A film not to be missed.
I must admit up front that I am not a huge fan of Westerns and the biggest reason I watched this film was because it had Robert Ryan in it. For some time, I have thought that Ryan was one of the best "unknown" actors, as he appeared and even starred in quite a few films but most people today have no idea who he was. My admiration for him is because he looked a lot like an ordinary guy (since he wasn't overly handsome) but despite this, his performances always seemed so realistic. He really was a heck of a good actor and his work in this film is no exception.
DAY OF THE OUTLAW isn't a great Western but it is different enough from the average film that it seems fresh enough to merit watching. What I particularly liked is how the first 15 minutes or so of the film turned out to be not at all directly related to where the film went next. Not knowing the plot, this really took me off guard--and I like when a film isn't easy to predict.
I also liked the idea of a gang of thugs invading and holding a town hostage--though this idea has been done before in Westerns (FIRECREEK) and non-Westerns (THE WILD ONE). What made this one stand out more from the others is that this group wasn't just bad in the usual sense, they were moral degenerates--rapists and sadists, not just socipaths or thieves. Plus, the idea of a strong but wounded leader (Burl Ives) trying to control these sick freaks was fascinating--as was the final showdown.
All in all, a very good film and one you should try to find due to its intelligent script and excellent acting.
This is a strange one: superb performances and realistic action set in a wonderfully harsh and beautiful setting, yet let down by plodding, uninspired direction. The sub-plot/romance concerning young Gene and the blonde girl reminded me of "3.10 to Yuma" for some reason, and then I felt a bit disappointed when I compared the two films.
The camera work is a bit dull, with only wide shots, and a variety of mid-shots. De Toth never really seems interested in his characters or his story. And, like one of the other reviewers, I was a bit worried about the horses. Still, the location sequences are great, and a wonderful juxtaposition with a more typically dusty Western setting. The gloomy tone of the film, combined with the setting, gives it an intriguingly noir edge.
Not bad, but this could have been so much more powerful.
This 1959 black and white Western story had very eerie photography which was about a town with very few people, high in the mountains, snow covered and plenty of fog. It had some very depressing scenes with hardly any groceries on the store shelves and very few bottles of booze behind the bar. Horses and men had trouble walking in the snow and you never knew who was going to kill who, a horse was even killed because it fell and broke his leg. Burl Ives,(Jack Bruhn) did not sing a song, but gave orders to his men, and kept them from any women or drink. Bruhn sort of took over the town and layed the law down and had a bullet removed without even a drop of booze to ease the pain. Robert Ryan(Blaise Starrett) was in love with a married woman and managed to leave the town and then return as a hero. Tina Louise (Helen Crane) was the sweetheart of this film and Elisha Cook Jr.,"I Wake Up Screaming" and "Rosemary's Baby", was a barber in this picture, however, you never saw him give a haircut, nor his usual bulging eyes and nervous looks. Believe it or not, there was some laughs in this film, especially when the men were allowed to dance with the few local woman, they went wild and just jumped and threw them all around, only to try to get a kiss. This is still a classic film and is worth viewing.