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Author Topic: The Tin Star (1957)  (Read 4922 times)
cigar joe
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« on: December 12, 2007, 04:44:30 PM »

Director Anthony Mann

starring:

Henry Fonda ...  Morg Hickman
Anthony Perkins ...  Sheriff Ben Owens
Betsy Palmer ...  Nona Mayfield
Michel Ray ...  Kip Mayfield
Neville Brand ...  Bart Bogardus
John McIntire ...  Dr. Jacob Joseph 'Doc' McCord
Mary Webster ...  Millie Parker
Peter Baldwin ...  Zeke McGaffey
Richard Shannon ...  Buck Henderson
Lee Van Cleef ...  Ed McGaffey

This was a pretty good flick that I thought I hadn't seen but realized I had near the end.

Basically Fonda plays bounty hunter Morg Hickman who we first see riding into a town with a pack horse carrying a wrapped bundle which is revealed to be a body by a hand sticking out. The town folk gather round as he rides up to the sheriff's office to collect the bounty. He walks in to the front office and see's no one, so he continues to the back where he finds Sheriff Owens (Anthony Perkins) practicing drawing & twirling his guns (he wears two). While twirling he drops one on the floor.

Hickman has to wait to collect his bounty so he tries to check into the hotel but the owner frowns upon bounty hunters and refuses to give him a room. The livery stable is owned by a cousin of the dead man Bart Bogardus (Neville Brand) and he also refuses stall space for Hickman's stock. As Hickman rides past the house of widow Nona Mayfield he asks if she has a room. She tells him yes and he resides there while the following events play out.

Bogardus wanted to be sheriff and he resents Owens, he has a confrontation with him as Hickman watches. Bogardus takes off his hat and uses it to mask his going to draw, Hickman sees the faint that Owens misses and he shoots the gun from his hand. Owens is grateful and during a discussion with Hickman discovers that he is a former sheriff. Owens asks for and Hickman freely gives Owens pointers (its similar to Day of Anger with Van Cleef & Gemma & Death Rides a Horse with Van Cleef & Law).

Lee Van Cleef Plays Ed McGaffy who with his brother Zeke are small time outlaws who rob stages. John McIntire plays a kindly old Doctor in one of his best nice guy performances. The real villain however is Neville Brand so Van Cleef doesn't get a lot of screen time. This is one of the few Westerns that he's in where he doesn't die on screen.

Check it out

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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2007, 06:18:25 PM »

Thanks, Joe. I'm pretty sure I've seen this on TV, although maybe just parts of it. Fonda is good, but I find Perkins hard to take (I get very tired of his whole I'm-so-clueless schtick). Also, I prefer Neville Brand playing second banana to the heavy, rather than the heavy himself.

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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2007, 06:22:30 PM »

Already posted my comments on the other thread. I'm not crazy about this film and Perkins is pretty weak. I do like Fonda a lot, and it's cool to see LVC as one of the bad guys. The photography is gorgeous though, and I do like the climax and the scene where Fonda smokes LVC and his brother out of a cave.

This movie is somewhat interesting to Leone fans. The scene where Fonda attempts to check into a hotel and fails is re-used in FAFDM, as is allegedly the final duel (with Fonda monitoring the proceedings to ensure a fair duel).

Already mentioned it on the other thread: Michel Ray, who plays Kip (Betsy Palmer's son), would go on to play Farraj in "Lawrence of Arabia" (see signature) before becoming an Olympic skiier and successful banker.

« Last Edit: December 12, 2007, 06:24:09 PM by Groggy » Logged


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« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2007, 11:07:49 PM »

I've seen this some time ago. It was okay, nothing mindblowing.

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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2007, 05:33:31 AM »

Quote
I've seen this some time ago. It was okay, nothing mindblowing.

Agreed what is interestingabout it is the depiction of the bounty hunter as a hero.

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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2007, 09:06:06 AM »

Agreed what is interestingabout it is the depiction of the bounty hunter as a hero.
Yes, that's true.

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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2008, 05:40:25 PM »

The Tin Star (1957)  4/5  Henry Fonda as the grizzled bounty hunter and Anthony Perkins as the inexperienced sheriff looking for some guidance.  Pretty tame for an Anthony Mann western overall, but I enjoyed it.  Two spaghetti-related things to mention, LVC plays one of the bad guys as is typical with his 50s roles, and Henry Fonda's entrance.

He comes riding into town with his most recent capture, a dead man tied to a horse with his hand poking out from under the blanket.  It looked like something straight out of a spaghetti western.  Pretty cool entrance.

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« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2009, 07:51:52 PM »

Enteraining and well shot  (it's Mann so I didn't expect any less) but the climax doesn't work for me.
I just don't find it believable that a large portion of the population of a quaint town would risk jail by joining the posse of the town bad apple.

When watching I was reminded of the ridiculous scene in the 3:10 remake where Charlie Prince persuades the townspeople to go against their sheriff.


7/10

Not amongst Mann's best.

p.s. I had a laugh when the main villain, after being shot, backs up right into the camera and nearly brings it down.

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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2009, 09:59:34 PM »

This is one of the few Westerns that he's in where he doesn't die on screen.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is another film where his baddie character isn't killed.

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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2009, 02:29:34 PM »

This is very good, but it has 3 minus: the B&W, Perkins and Brand as main villain (he's good, but his motivations weak). Still it gets 7\10, maybe even more.

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« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2017, 04:39:38 PM »

Saw this (second viewing) on TCM.

I like this movie. I give it a 7.5/10

I'm a huge Henry Fonda fan. The tutoring/mentoring bit can be a bit heavy-handed at times, but generally this is pretty good.

The potentially great gag of the doctor rolling into town for his own birthday and he's dead, is ruined, because the movie implies in the strongest possible terms that the doc will be dad. If the movie had not told us beforehand that the doc was already dead - and it wouldn't have taken too much imagination to have it done properly - it could have been a great gag.

One of the best things about this movie is the incredibly amazing cinematography.

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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2017, 05:36:16 AM »


One of the best things about this movie is the incredibly amazing cinematography.

I remember it looking like an episode of a TV western series.

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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2017, 05:38:03 AM »

I remember it looking like an episode of a TV western series.

I have never seen a TV Western. If TV Westerns look like this, then they must look amazing  Wink A very rich black and white  Afro

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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2017, 04:49:27 AM »

Adding review.

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The Tin Star is directed by Anthony Mann and the screenplay written by Dudley Nichols who adapts from a story by Joel Kane & Barney Slater. It stars Henry Fonda, Anthony Perkins, Betsy Palmer, Neville Brand, John McIntire and Lee Van Cleef. Loyal Griggs is on black and white photography duty and Elmer Bernstein scores the music.

Bounty hunter Morgan Hickman (Fonda) rides into a small American town with a dead outlaw for company. He's here to claim the reward money put up but finds that most of the town despise him for what he does. However, Ben Owens (Perkins), the town's young greenhorn sheriff, sees something in Morgan that he greatly admires. When Morgan comes to Ben's aid during a run in with the town bully, Bart Bogardus (Brand), it's the start of a friendship that could alter the rest of their lives.

Based on a short story and with no great budget behind it, it was something of a surprise that The Tin Star was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Writing Category (it lost out to Designing Woman - George Wells). Tho classy as a character study, the film has often been criticised for being over talky and preachy into the bargain. This was Mann's first Western movie after leaving behind actor James Stewart and writer Borden Chase after a run of genre defining classics. Here it finds the great director playing safe, producing a Western more in the traditional mould than the psychologically tough edged one he helped to shape. True enough it is didactic, across the humanistic board, and there's no getting away from the fact that the film reeks with predictability. But Mann still crafts his story well whilst giving it the odd visual flourish; even if it only truly feels like a Mann picture once Ben and Morgan hit the mountains in pursuit of criminals and a wandering boy.

It can be argued that The Tin Star is guilty by association with so many similar Westerns of its ilk. It's galling that Mann felt a need to shift from where he was at in the genre to, what? Be accepted? Luckily for Western fans Budd Boetticher was plugging the gap left by the Mann/Stewart fall out with the excellent movies made with Randolph Scott. While Mann returned to arguably great form with Man Of The West (Garry Cooper in the saddle) 2 years later. Fonda here is iconic and every inch the Western dude, eyes like chips of ice and a stubbled face that's home to a mouth that can tell sad tales and impart pearls of wisdom. Perkins is twitchy, amiable and easy to side with as he searches for the skills to solidify his backbone. I don't buy the criticism's of the pair, that they are dressage cowboys, they have a warmth to their pairing, and it proves to be a most engaging father & son like relationship.

Away from the leads, Brand is his customary gravel voiced ball of machismo, revelling in playing another snarly villain. Palmer and Mary Webster aren't asked to do much in the two main female roles, but both are on cue and easy on the eye. While Cleef is only in a small support role but he leaves a marker for better things to come. It 's John McIntire who takes the acting honours as the town doctor, it's a critical role, the catalyst role in fact (I promise you will remember his whole birthday sequence). His turn is a classy bit of glue binding the narrative together. Be it eloquently holding court with common sense chatter, or commanding in his surgical saw bones manner, it's a fine performance from a great American character actor.

I enjoy the film very much, and find on revisits that it has aged better than many other similar themed Oaters. Far from perfect, and certainly miles away from being in the top section of a best of list of Anthony Mann Western's, it's still, however, a film that leaves a favourable mark once the film has reached its memorable conclusion. 7/10

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