Saturday, March 9, 2013

1954 - CATTLE QUEEN OF MONTANA, Stanwyck and Reagan

71 year old Allan Dwan, was one of a select group that pretty much invented movie making during the silent film period film.  Dwan was still working into the 1950's.  Cattle Queen of Montana is sort of a B-western with a lot to recommend it.

The film stars Barbara Stanwyck in a very strong role as a woman attempting to set up a ranch in Montana.  She is plagued by evil rancher Gene Evans and some rogue Indians.  Stanwyck is assisted by Ronald Reagan (who's not bad) playing some sort of undercover Army officer.  But the bottom line is that Stanwyck doesn't take any crap from any guy in this film she shoots them if they get out of line.

The action is pretty good with a nasty knife fight, a cattle stampede and an exciting shoot out with the bad guys at the end.  The director Allan Dwan gets to the point and the film zips along in about an hour and a half.  This is essentially a feminist western which also has a very sympathetic point of view regarding native Americans even if they are all played by white actors.  The extensive on location filming is also a big plus in this film.

A favorite with film scholars and directors with Martin Scorsese, this is still a rather modest western particularly well made.

88 minutes.

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