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Films of Sergio Leone => Other Films => Topic started by: titoli on November 08, 2016, 01:26:34 AM



Title: The Lonely Man (1957)
Post by: titoli on November 08, 2016, 01:26:34 AM
This has a lot of good , but also a lot of bad. The plot has many faults to accomodate personalities, mainly the conflict between Perkins and Palance. Perkins doesn't know what the problems between his father and mother were untill the very last quarter of the movie and didn't ask his father before, still he's got a grudge against him from the start till then. He doesn't remember how his father looked like (and to forget a figure like that of Palance is quite hard) so one must assume he hasn't seen his father since at least 20 years (Perkins was 24 at the time of filming) and that makes hardly believable both his resentment and Palance's longing for return home. But even more basic is the problem that Perkins doesn't look like Palance's son (he was 13 years his junior). The only reason for having picked Perkins is the fact that he actually steals the girl from his father, something that it couldn't have happened if they had picked up a teenager actor: but then he shouldn't have behaved like an unreasonable one against his father. BTW, nothing is made out of the affair between him and his father's girl after they presumably have sex: on the contrary, the girl is shown behaving with Palance as nothing has happened. Which is odd, as the movie tried to picture her as a good girl, not a strumpet. And then there's the Neville Brand's gang apparently hiding out in a mountain cabin for unexplained reasons. Brand has been shot by Palance with a long bullet, which he has recovered and which he will use again putting it into a derringer-sized gun and hitting Palance shooting down at him from a first floor balcony on  the other side of the street. If one can believe it. And why Palance stays in the only place where everybody is able to find him? I could go on, but I pass to the plusses. Palance is good, Perkins is not only miscast but also unfit: he just doesn't look like somebody living in the Western landscape and also doesn't look like he's mastering entirely yet his profession. The two Palance gunfights are good, especially the first against  Akins, which comes off unexpected (I won't spoil it). The horse chasing, reminding me of The Misfits.  Cook in western attire (comes off better than expected) and Van Cleef in a brief but significant role which should have already warrented him a career in Hollywood even more than the one in High Noon. Here he also wears a vest under the jacket. I give a rating between 6 and 7.


Title: Re: The Lonely Man (1957)
Post by: cigar joe on November 08, 2016, 04:42:48 AM
Barely remember it.


Title: Re: The Lonely Man (1957)
Post by: stanton on November 08, 2016, 05:25:44 AM
Good western. 7/10


Title: Re: The Lonely Man (1957)
Post by: greenbudgie on May 16, 2017, 03:22:18 AM
I wondered what Anthony Perkins was going to be like in a western. He is OK. I think that he has a father-hating manner about him that the film industry picked up on. And then gave him those roles on that strength.

Jack Palance is good. I don't think that I have ever seen him in a western before either. The only think is that he can't say "Get off your horse" the way that John Wayne can.

Elaine Aiken was an unknown, to me, female presence in this. I wasn't too struck by her. Not a bad film generally. 6/10.


Title: Re: The Lonely Man (1957)
Post by: Spikeopath on May 17, 2017, 12:40:18 PM
Breaking Horses, Hearts and Boys.

The Lonely Man is directed by Henry Levin and written by Harry Essex and Robert Smith. It stars Jack Palance, Anthony Perkins, Elaine Aiken, Neville Brand, Robert Middleton, Elisha Cook Jr. and Claude Akins. It's a VistaVision production with cinematography by Lionel Lindon, music scored by Van Cleave and the title track sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Trying to leave his gun slinging days behind him, Jacob Wade (Palance) tries desperately to bond with his son Riley (Perkins) who blames him for his Mother's death.

From the outset as Tennessee Ernie Ford warbles a soft ballad over the opening credits, you know that we are in for a Western sorrowful in tone, and so it proves. I confess it's a film I hadn't really heard of before and kind of stumbled upon it by accident. It certainly seems to be under seen, while judging by the lack of written critique's for it, most probably forgotten by those who viewed it many years ago.

It's a film with problems, there is no getting away from that, but for the Western fan who has a bent for films like Shane, The Gunfighter and Unforgiven (and it is no way in the same league as these pictures) it has narrative rewards. There is very little action here, a couple of horse pursuits (though these are very well filmed and are exciting) and a short gunfight are about as thrilling as it gets, because this is very much a character study and smiles are very much in short supply. Story follows father and estranged son forming an uneasy alliance as Jacob tries to set Riley up for the future, truths will out along the way and Jacob's past is coming back to haunt him. There's a girl in the middle, naturally, and health will also come into play.

Filmed out of the Sierra Mountains, Lone Pine and the Mojave Desert, the back drops are excellent. Lionel Lindon's black and white photography is a real asset to the picture in how it captures the mournful mood of the story. While for the finale we move into noir territory as Levin and Lindon darken the skies and bring the atmospheric shadows, and this is something that perfectly cloaks what unfolds in the story. The support cast is like a whose who of Western character actors: Elisha Cook Jr., Neville Brand, Claude Akins, Lee Van Cleef, Denver Pyle, Harry Shannon and John Douchette, all of whom owe the Western fan nothing. But here lies one of the film's major problems…

With a dialogue heavy picture such as this, we reasonably expect good characterisations, unfortunately we just don't get that. Palance is basically required to just look tough and emote when faced with Perkins' whiny barbs. Oh they are good at being emotive and whiny respectively, but the screenplay just doesn't ask anything of them, with some interesting threads dangled but never expanded upon. Aiken is stock female fodder, and again she plays a character that just exists since the interesting possibilities are not explored. Then there's the number of characters played by those wonderful Western actors that just drift in and out of the film with no chance to impact on proceedings. Brand does get a neat role, and shows a good mean streak whilst introducing us to some cowardly bastard tactics, but he's still under written.

The lack of depth to plotting and complexity of principal characters is such a shame, as is the uneven direction of Levin. Yet I personally was very pleased to have seen this, it has some merits in the "moody redemption" splinter of Western films. A cautious and generous 7/10 from me.