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: Quantez (1957)  ( 428 )

« : July 29, 2017, 08:30:32 AM »

John Coventry the lonely one, began and ended with a gun.

Quantez is directed by Harry Keller and written by R. Wright Campbell and Anne Edwards. It stars Fred MacMurray, Dorothy Malone, James Barton, Sydney Chaplin, John Gavin and John Larch. A CinemaScope production in Eastman Color, with music scored by Herman Stein (supervision Joseph Gershenson) and cinematography by Carl E. Guthrie.

A gang of robbers hole up for the night in the ghost town of Quantez. But what is the greater threat to their well being? The Indians out in the hills? Or each other?

Maybe you get to be a killer? But you will be sick to the stomach because of it.

A smartly written and acted psychological Western, Quantez deserves to be better known and appraised. This is all about characterisations and the hot bed situation they dwell within, the emphasis on dialogue and interactions as suspicion, passions, racism and treachery show their hands. Standard characters do apply, the girl with a past she's not proud of, the loose cannon, the greenhorn kid, the duplicitous one and the guy with a secret tucked away. There's even a late addition of a wandering minstrel (Barton), splendidly calling himself Puritan. These characters are well blended for narrative strength by Keller, the director keeping things on the slow burn, an impending sense of implosion permeating proceedings. Technical aspects are smart, the exterior filming, when the film comes out of the claustrophobic confines of the ghost town, is most pleasing, while the Eastman Color is gorgeous and never garish. Cast score well, notably a stubble and grungy MacMurray, a pretty and emotionally fragile Malone and Larch, who is unstable and enjoying his chance for villainy.

Except for a fist fight, an opening pursuit and the odd moment of macho posturing, the action is saved for the excellent last quarter, so first time viewers after a high energy Oater are advised that this is not the film for them. But for those who like some psychological discord in their Westerns, where plot dynamics are simmering until the denouement, then seek this out if you can. 8/10

UK Cable.

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