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The Far Country

USA 1954
produced by
Aaron Rosenberg for Universal
directed by Anthony Mann
starring James Stewart, Ruth Roman, Corinne Calvet, Walter Brennan, John McIntire, Jay C. Flippen, Harry Morgan, Steve Brodie, Connie Gilchrist, Robert J. Wilke, Chubby Johnson, Royal Dano, Jack Elam, Kathleen Freeman, Connie Van, Eugene Borden, Paul Bryar, Angeline Engler, Robert Foulk, Terry Frost, Carl Harbaugh, Don C. Harvey, Eddie Parker, Stuart Randall, Chuck Roberson, Eddy Waller, Guy Wilkerson, Jack Williams, William J. Williams
written by Borden Chase, music by Henry Mancini, Hans J. Salter, Frank Skinner, Herman Stein

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Hearing news about the Klondike gold rush, adventurer Jeff Webster (James Stewart) sees a golden opportunity - to drive cattle from Wyoming up to Dawson City and make a fortune in beef. But in the US-Canadian border town he runs into opposition when crooked lawman Gannon (John McIntire) confiscates his lifestock and threatens to hang him. To evade that, Webster and his sidekick Ben (Walter Brennan) join Ronda Castle's (Ruth Roman) trek to Dawson City as pointmen - but not before stealing their cattle back from Gannon and driving them over the border before Gannon can even react.

Up in Dawson City, Webster sells his cattle to Ronda, who wants to start a business there, even if it means running the local saloon out of business, and he and Ben become gold diggers, having no way back to the US that wouldn't pass through Skagway. Then Gannon and his henchmen appear in Dawson City, not to arrest Webster or anything - Gannon has no jurisdiction in Canada - but to steal honest gold diggers claims. In Ronda, they find a willing accomplice, and Webster, the only one in town who could stand up to them, does nothing, looking after himself first and foremost, and really looking for a way to get back to the US without passing through Skagway after all - and eventually, a native gives him some pointers, but when he and Ben try to make their getaway, they walk into an ambush set up by Gannon's men, and Webster's severely wounded and Ben is killed. And now Webster knows to not only get out of Dawson City but also find peace with himself, he must face injustice, in the form of Webster and his henchmen. But as skilled as a gunfighter as he is, the injuries from the ambush have taken their toll ...

Corinne Calvet plays a tomboyish girl madly in love with Webster but always sidelined by Ronda Castle.

 

If classic Technicolor westerns from the 1950s are your thing, then you're sure to love The Far Country: It's beautifully shot in great scenery, its direction is flawless and really stands the test of time, and the cast is universally first rate. That's not at all to say The Far Country is just another routine good-vs-evil horse opera though, as it's really a character driven piece that shows the cracks in its main personnel and suggests unwritten backstories and the like, and that has its lead character grow for not necessarily the right reasons - so while this movie may remain firmly within the confines of the genre, it does play some interesting riffs on a well-known melody - all for the movie's benefit of course.

Totally recommended, to fans of classic westerns as well as everyone else happy to break away from today's tested tried and true mainstream movie fodder.

 

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD