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Films of Sergio Leone => Other Films => Topic started by: cigar joe on June 06, 2005, 04:37:26 AM

Title: Jubal (1956)
Post by: cigar joe on June 06, 2005, 04:37:26 AM
Watched Jubal last night more of a traditional western melodrama than anything else, but a good preformance by Glen Ford, Ernest Borgnine, Rod Stieger, Charles Bronson, Jack Elam, and Wallace Berry Jr.
Worth a look-see but not any essential part of a collection.

It features the Grand Tetons as a back drop, same as with Shane I believe.

Title: Re: Jubal (1956)
Post by: dave jenkins on June 06, 2005, 05:01:20 PM
CJ, a fair assessment. It should be added, I think, that the women in this movie are particularly interesting and for once add rather than detract from the story. Fellicia Farr isn't bad (although she's much better in 3:10 to Yuma) but Valerie French is an absolute stunner and her presence really helps sell the plot. She's trouble, but you can kind of understand why Glenn Ford and the others hang around waiting for the inevitable. I'm very sympathetic to the Leone view of women in Westerns ("What was Rhonda Flemming doing in _Gunfight at the OK Corral_?"), but if you're gonna break with an all-male approach, you might as well cast a Valerie French or a Claudia Cardinale in your film.

Title: Re: Jubal (1956)
Post by: cigar joe on June 07, 2005, 04:48:44 AM
True she was hot and trouble, lol.

Title: Re: Jubal (1956)
Post by: Groggy on November 06, 2009, 05:24:11 PM
Delmer Daves has gained a reputation as a top-notch director of "adult Westerns" similar to Anthony Mann (The Man From Laramie) and Samuel Fuller (Forty Guns). His revisionist Indian film Broken Arrow and moody Western psychodrama 3:10 to Yuma are among the best Westerns of the 1950's, engendering a well-deserved cult following. The overlooked Jubal (1956) is even better than the above films, and perhaps Daves' finest work. A dark, character-driven Western, it heaps on the psychology and angst with verve, with strong performances and beautiful location photography.

Three-time loser Jubal Troop (Glenn Ford) is found by big-shot rancher Shep Horgan (Ernest Borgnine) and hired as a cowhand. Shep's long-suffering Canadian wife Mae (Valerie French) immediately puts the moves on Jubal; an unknowing Shep promotes Jubal to his This does not sit well with rancher Pinky (Rod Steiger), who has a history with and a giant chip on his shoulder. Pinky convinces Shep that Jubal and Mae are having an illicit affiar, resulting in Shep's killing. With the help of fellow ne'er-do-well Reb (Charles Bronson) and a group of Mormons, Jubal must prove his innocence and take down the perfidious Pinky.

Jubal is very much in the Mann vein, in its depiction of tormented cowboys and Old West intrigue. The film's plot loosely resembles Shakespeare's Othello (if Cassio were the protagonist and Desdemona a slut), but it's more of a general reference point than a direct inspiration. Jubal is a life-long loser whose motivation is only to find a bit of good luck and happiness for once in his life; he seems to have it with Shep, but events conspire against him. The sultry Mae is no damsel in distress, nor a femme fatale, but a sexually frustrated girl trapped in a rotten marriage. Shep is a bumptiously likeable guy but a wholly inadequate husband, and all too easily manipulated by Pinky, a slimy brute who lacks the cunning and charm of Shakespeare's Iago. The movie is a bit talky for a Western, but not so much that it detracts from the film; the focus is on story and character and the lack of wall-to-wall action is forgivable.

Daves' direction is excellent, handling his actors and story with due subtlety and letting the store unfold at a leisurely pace. Filmed on location in the Grand Tetons, the film has its share of striking scenery, beautifully captured in Charles Lawton's gorgeous Technicolor photography. Daves gives the film enough space and exterior scenes to keep it from being a set-bound genre piece. However, David Raskin's score is pretty by-the-numbers. The movie provides some obvious inspiration for Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) - including a conversation about patting one's wife on the behind - that Western buffs will appreciate.

Glenn Ford, often a stiff and wooden actor, seemed to do his best work in Westerns. His charming bad guy in 3:10 to Yuma was excellent, and he's almost as good here as the tortured tough-luck cowpoke. Ernest Borgnine invests Shep with the same gruff likeability as Marty and The Wild Bunch, with a violent and quick-tempered edge to boot. Rod Steiger (Doctor Zhivago) plays his Iago figure with a heaping helping of ham and a typically bizarre accent, not unlike his Tom Joad in Oklahoma! Valerie French is absolutely smouldering, and Felicia Farr (who would re-team with Ford and Daves in 3:10) is lovely in her debut role as a pretty Mormon girl. The supporting cast includes a young Charles Bronson, Basil Ruysdael, Noah Beery Jr., John Dierkes and Jack Elam.

8/10 (

Title: Re: Jubal (1956)
Post by: T.H. on November 07, 2009, 02:18:44 PM
Ford, like his co-star in Yuma, Heflin, really grew on me -- to the point where I'd say he's a great actor.

As for Jubal, I think it's one of the 5 best AWs. It greatly improves upon additional viewings.

Title: Re: Jubal (1956)
Post by: dave jenkins on November 08, 2009, 06:46:38 PM
Ford, like his co-star in Yuma, Heflin, really grew on me -- to the point where I'd say he's a great actor.

As for Jubal, I think it's one of the 5 best AWs. It greatly improves upon additional viewings.
That's been my experience--although I still have my reservations about Ford.

Title: Re: Jubal (1956)
Post by: Groggy on November 08, 2009, 07:45:30 PM
I haven't seen enough Heflin to comment. Ford I've usually found pretty stiff but in the two Daves films he was excellent.

Title: Re: Jubal (1956)
Post by: T.H. on November 11, 2009, 01:41:25 PM
That's been my experience--although I still have my reservations about Ford.

I know this a lame, overused phrase, but I think Ford embodies that "every man" quality rather well. He's one of the few actors who looks like he could have grown up in my neighborhood, maybe that's why I like him so much. I thought he was great in movies like THE BIG HEAT, THE VIOLENT MEN and BLACKBOARD JUNGLE. I warmed up to his performance in Gilda after a repeated view.

Title: Re: Jubal (1956)
Post by: dave jenkins on February 15, 2013, 02:33:04 PM
Criterion Blu-ray set for May release.

Title: Re: Jubal (1956)
Post by: T.H. on February 15, 2013, 07:47:31 PM
I just found out about this five minutes ago, this is so awesome. I didn't hear ANYTHING prior to the news - I was just hoping that Jubal and/or Cowboy would be included as an additional material for the 3:10 release.

With that said,  I never thought Jubal would receive a bluray release, let alone, receive the criterion treatment. I can see this one taking a new life like Sweet Smell of Success and Bigger Than Life - I remember first seeing them several years ago when they both only had several hundred IMDB votes - not that it meant they were obscure, but it's a good indicator of gauging a popularity boost.

This is going to sound really nitpick-y, but I wonder why they didn't just release 3:10 and Jubal as a Daves/Ford trilogy and include Cowboy '58? I actually suggested that to them a month ago or so.

Criterion has released so few westerns, I never thought this would happen. I can't really see me being more excited for a home video/bluray announcement.


Cool cover too. Can not wait.

Title: Re: Jubal (1956)
Post by: dave jenkins on February 16, 2013, 08:23:08 AM
I'm happy too. I agree that I would have liked them to be releasing Cowboy also--especially because on the current DVD it isn't in the correct AR. At least the current DVDs of Yuma and Jubal have the correct ARs! But it's great to get these two films on Blu-ray: both were shot by the great Charles Lawton (who also did Cowboy).

UPDATE (this was just posted over at
The Criterion edition of Jubal should look much better than the existing dvd from 2005. Sony debuted a major restoration of the film at the TCM film festival in 2010.

Title: Re: Jubal (1956)
Post by: dave jenkins on April 26, 2013, 06:15:27 AM

Title: Re: Jubal (1956)
Post by: dave jenkins on April 28, 2013, 11:30:13 AM

Uh oh: "The outdoor footage looks very good. Depth and especially clarity are very pleasing while contrast is stable. The indoor footage, however, is not as sharp and vibrant. While some of the clarity fluctuations are directly related to the manner in which light and shadow are treated, there are some contrast fluctuations that are not inherited. There are also sporadic color pulsations as well as basic frame instability (typically accompanied by color instability)."

And, is it just me, or do several of those screencaps look horizontally stretched?

Title: Re: Jubal (1956)
Post by: T.H. on April 29, 2013, 01:05:46 PM
I definitely wasn't expecting any issues and was looking forward to a transfer somewhat comparable to Bigger Than Life but I'll just have to wait and see. I see where you are coming from on the horizontal stretching issue but I feel like the reviewers would be all over it if it were the case, or so I would hope.

Thanks for posting all of these reviews.

Title: Re: Jubal (1956)
Post by: Dust Devil on December 19, 2013, 10:09:23 AM
It's a real pity they burned the candle too fast, already one hour into it, so the last forty minutes are...  what they are - nothing memorable; Hollywood predictability at its best. I concord with you guys that the characters are cliched yet believable due to the actor's performances. Mae is a looker, but doesn't turn out to be bad to the bone, while on the other hand Pinky turns out to be just what everybody thought he would in the very first minute of the movie. I kinda had plans for him, must admit...

Still, as good as a classic Hollywood W melodrama can be.

7 - 7.5 out of 10

Title: Re: Jubal (1956)
Post by: Spikeopath on May 06, 2017, 12:17:37 AM
A film I was compelled to purchase after first viewing.

You know, sometimes I think it's givin' the good Lord the worst of it to say he invented people.

Jubal is directed by Delmer Daves and adapted by Daves and Russell S. Hughes from the Paul Wellman novel, Jubal Troop. It stars Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine, Rod Steiger, Charles Bronson, Valerie French & Felicia Farr. David Raksin scores the music and Charles Lawton Jr. is the cinematographer. Out of Columbia Pictures it's a CinemaScope/Technicolor production, and location for the shoot is Jackson Hole, The Grand Tetons, Wyoming, USA.

Jubal Troop (Ford) is found exhausted out on the range and given shelter at a nearby ranch owned by Shep Horgan (Borgnine). Shep oversees Jubal's recovery and offers him a job as part of his ranch team. This is met with objection by Shep's mean foreman, Pinky (Steiger), but Shep is undeterred and Jubal goes on to prove his worth in the position. Shep and Jubal get on great, but trouble is brewing because Shep's pretty Canadian wife, Mae (French), has taken quite a shine to Jubal. This further enrages Pinky, and a hornets nest is stirred, spelling trouble for practically everyone.

Delmer Daves' (Dark Passage/Broken Arrow) Jubal is often likened to William Shakespeare's Othello, that's something that, whilst being flattering, is best ignored. For Jubal, and its makers, deserve credit in their own right for producing such a tight, tense, adult Western. It's a film that's driven by characters who are caught in a web of jealousy and suppressed emotions, with the underrated Daves bringing some psychological dimensions into the narrative. He's also a director who knows that such a story benefits greatly by not including action and violence just for the sake of upping the tempo. He paces this film to precision, winding up the tension to breaking point, then to unleash all the pent up fury on the viewers, but even then he (correctly) chooses to keep some critical moments off the screen, gaining results far better than if stuff had actually been shown the audience (two shots in the finale are stupendously memorable).

This griping human drama is played out in front of magnificent scenery, where Daves and Lawton Jr. (3:10 to Yuma/Comanche Station) utilise the CinemaScope and Technicolor facilities to their maximum potential. Filling the widescreen frame with majestic mountains,vibrant slanted forests and rolling grassy hills. The Grand Tetons location had previously been used in other notable Western movies, such as The Big Trail, The Big Sky and famously for George Stevens' Shane. While post Jubal it served a considerable purpose for Dances with Wolves. All of this grandeur for the eyes is boosted by Raksin's (Laura/Fallen Angel) score, with gentle swirls for the tender Jubal/Naomi thread and rushes for the posse sequences, it's an arrangement very at one with the mood and tempo of the story.

The cast list oozes star power, and gets performances to match. Ford is a master at roles calling for underplayed intensity, and that's what he gives Jubal Troop. Keeping the characters cards close to his chest in the beginning, Ford pitches it perfect as the emotionally bottled up drifter. Borgnine, a year after his Oscar win for Marty, is perfect foil to Ford's calmness, he's in turn big and boisterous, often crude, yet under the bluster is a sweet and honest man. And there in the middle of the three men is Steiger, bringing the method. Pinky is brooding, devious and one pulse beat away from being psychotic, but Steiger, with a menacing drawl flowing out of his mouth, is creepily mannered. Steiger and Daves clashed other how to play Pinky, the director wanting something more akin to Ford's serene like role play, but Steiger wanted it played bitter and coiled spring like; the actor getting his way when producer William Fadiman sided with him.

Valerie French (Decision at Sundown) looks beautiful in Technicolor, and in spite of an accent problem, does a neat line in how to play a smoldering fuse in a box of fire crackers. Felicia Farr (The Last Wagon) is the polar opposite, religiously comely and virginal, she's a touch underused but the play off with French impacts well in the story. Key support goes to Charles Bronson (The Magnificent Seven) as loyal friend to Jubal, Reb. Played with laid back machismo, it's something of what would become the trademark Bronson performance. Other notables in the support cast are the always value for money Noah Beery Jr. (Wagons West), John Dierkes (The Hanging Tree) and Jack Elam (The Man From Laramie).

Damn fine film that's worthy of being sought out by those interested in the best of the 50s slew of Adult Westerns. 8.5/10