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: Passion (1954)  ( 418 )

« : July 09, 2017, 07:58:21 AM »

It's hard to kill a man that has much to live for.

Passion is directed by Allan Dwann and collectively written by Beatrice Dresher, Josef Leytes and Howard Estabrook. It stars Cornel Wilde, Yvonne De Carlo, Raymond Burr, Lon Chaney Junior, Rodolfo Acosta, Anthony Caruso and John Qualen. Music is by Louis Forbes and cinematography by John Alton.

Early California . . .under Mexican rule. . .the timeless mountains and eternal snows looking down on the everlasting struggle of man against man.

The Dwann and Bogeaus (producer) combination once again craft a Western that breaks free of B budget restrictions to reveal a film of some entertaining substance. This is all about man's thirst for revenge as Wilde's Juan Obreon finds his family ruthlessly snuffed out by Acosta's land hungry Salvator Sandro. When the law fail to act upon a flimsy piece of evidence, Obreon decides to go after the Sandro gang himself.

Obreon is not a ghost.

Running at under 90 minutes it would have been easy for the makers to quickly get on with the revenge axis from the off, but time is afforded the Juan Obreon character so we understand why he does what he does. For the first 30 minutes the love and family contentment surrounding Obreon shines through, and with De Carlo playing dual characters (Juan's comely wife and fiery sister-in-law), there's a bit of novelty value added into the mix. We get snippets of how vile Sandro is, such as when we are introduced to him he is whipping his young son for a bit of "tough" love, and the surrounding vistas are impressive observers to the unfolding drama.

Story set and on to revenge we go as Obreon pursues the murderers of his family while himself being pursued by two lawmen (Burr and Caruso), one of which is an old friend who isn't exactly pulling out all the stops to catch the fugitive. It all leads to a final confrontation that is set in the snowy mountains where all interested parties convene at a remote log cabin. Dwann has paced it neatly and created a good amount of tension whilst also showing his expertise as a choreographer of fights.

Alton's photography is most appealing, be it the capturing of the California landscape, or his use of light and shadow for a ruin based sequence, Alton once again shows himself to be a most talented cinematographer who always added a kick to even the lowest of budgeted pictures. Cast are mostly effective, with Wilde leading the way and proving his worth as a lead man who is wronged and he shows some genuine pain in his visuality. Unfortunately the good work of the principal actors is tainted a touch by Chaney Junior once again looking out of place in a Western, with fluctuating accent as well, and Burr disappoints by never once convincing as a law man conflicted by his emotions.

With revenge at its core, and plot points involving abandoned babies and cold blooded murder, it's a strong Western that ultimately survives its flaws to become another very fine Dwann/Bogeaus production. 7.5/10

Allan Dwan Box Set - French Release Region 2

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