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Author Topic: Rancho Notorious (1952)  (Read 3248 times)
Dust Devil
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« on: June 13, 2009, 08:03:10 PM »


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045070/


I liked the beginning but then it goes (way) longer on dialogue and building than it really should, and as the ending isn't explosive enough to redeem the whole chunk before even Marlene Dietrich's role falls short. Sorry Fritz.


5.7/10

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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2009, 04:57:38 PM »

I respectfully disagree with your rating, RN moves much too quickly to give it such a low score. It starts off pretty weak, but gains momentum by the use of Citizen Kane-esque flashbacks. However, RN loses steam once the characters are settled in the ranch, and the shootout/climax isn't very strong. This movie is really interesting and there is a nice use of studio landscapes, especially the purple-ish sky in the first third.

What I like about RN is that the revenge plot was pretty fresh due to the aforementioned use of flashbacks. I do agree that it could have been much better but it definitely has merit.

The soundtrack is laughably bad, the half-assed ballads explaining the plot were laughable.

7/10. worth a view.

One question I have: How did the murderer know his avenger's indentity by the way he stepped on his horse? The murderer never saw him before? Or am I missing something?

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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2009, 12:26:27 PM »

Well I respect your opinion but sorry, can't answer your question, I don't have a copy of the movie as I watched it when it was on TV, and honestly can't remember much from it anymore. If I ever happen to see it again I'll contact you here and try to answer your question, but the way I see it, by the time that huge if possibly happens, you won't even remember the question anymore.  Undecided

« Last Edit: October 12, 2009, 12:27:55 PM by Dust Devil » Logged



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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2011, 01:53:02 AM »

the movie was playing on TCM yesterday. I shut it off very early; I realized there was no way I was going to enjoy this movie. I remember shortly after they begin searching for her -- there was a flashback with them playing a horse-hurdle race, and then they go searching, and find the guys sitting there on the porch, and asking about their Rosebud, and then they were about to hit a flashback to another town when I said "ENOUGH!" and shut it off. As soon as I am sure I will not enjoy a movie, I stop watching immediately. Movies are supposed to be fun. The second I realize this won't be fun for me, I'm done. No point in watching for the sake of just "finishing the movie." (an old debate I had with Groggy ) Afro

« Last Edit: August 28, 2017, 02:18:53 PM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2011, 05:37:41 AM »

the movie was playing on TCM yesterday. I shut it off very early; I realized there was no way I was going to enjoy this movie. I remember shortly after they begin searching for her -- there was a flashback with them playing a horse - hurdle race, and then they go searching, and find a the guys sitting there on the porch, and asking about their Rosebud, and then they were about to hit a flashback to another town when I said "ENOUGH!" and shut it off. As soon as I am sure I will not enjoy a movie, I stop watching immediately. Movies are supposed to be fun. The second I realize this won't be fun for me, I'm done. No point in watching for the sake of just "finishing the movie." (an old debate I had with Groggy ) Afro

I watched it through out of curiosity it was a 6/10 at best, a bit better than Johnny Guitar, but not much. It was part of a Marlene Dietrich day.

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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2011, 01:30:03 PM »

I watched it through out of curiosity it was a 6/10 at best, a bit better than Johnny Guitar, but not much. It was part of a Marlene Dietrich day.

Yeah, it was Marlene Dietrich Day.

My first Marlene Dietrich movie, and I was done less than half an hour in. .. btw, I glanced at the movie's Wikipedia page and it calls this film a Western noir; so I figured you would be interested  Wink

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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2011, 04:19:09 PM »

A very bizarre western for the 50s. And very artificial.

Dietrich in her last lead is too old for the role, but she still manages to do it.  It is Kenned<y who is not strong enough for the male lead.

Good western. 7/10

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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2011, 06:57:33 PM »

Forgot to mention at one point in this film you hear the familiar coyote yelp that is used in GBU.

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« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2012, 04:28:56 PM »




I saw it in 1980 on tv and wasn't impressed but the connection CJ made with Johnny Guitar is the same I did: probably because it is shot almost entirely in the studio with ridiculous "open air" scenes displaying much of the artificiality the other movies has. And also, the RN reminds one of Vienna's saloon. But Marlene, though visibly old, is still feminine and ugly Crawford is no match for her. The plot is interesting until the moment Kennedy has the out of the blue moronic confrontation with Dietrich. I don't like Kennedy in a lead part. And I hate Ferrer. Still Marlene earns it a 7\10.

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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2017, 07:27:02 AM »

Adding.

Tricky beginning blooms into something quite unique.

The third and last Western by Fritz Lang, Rancho Notorious is a weird, distinctive, film-noir infused Oater containing familiar Fritz Lang themes. Adapted by Daniel Taradash from an original story by Silvia Richards, the story follows Arthur Kennedy's frontiersman Vern Haskell as he trawls the West in search of the culprit responsible for the rape and murder of his fiancée. He winds up at a place known as Chuck-a-Luck, a ranch and front for a criminal hideout that is run by smouldering chanteuse Altar Keane {Marlene Dietrich}. Posing as a criminal himself, Haskell hooks up with gunslinger Frenchy Fairmont {Mel Ferrer} and infiltrates the unsavoury mob behind the scenes of the Chuck-a-Luck. But problems arise as both Haskell and Frenchy vie for the attentions of Altar and slowly but surely, as Haskell gets closer to his target, it's evident that he is so torn and twisted by revenge he's become as bad as the villains he now aims to bring down.

Reference Fritz Lang, love, betrayal and retribution, cloak them in a decidedly feminist sheen and what you get is Rancho Notorious. That the film is an oddity is something of an understatement, yet it works in a very unique sort of way. The film opens with one of the most god awful title songs used in Westerns, "Legend of Chuck-A-Luck" song by Bill Lee, from then the tune is used at points of reference in the narrative. It seems like a joke song, hell it sounds like a joke song, but within the first quarter of the film a pretty young lady is raped and murdered, Haskell is informed that she "wasn't spared anything," this is completely at odds with the tone that had been set at that time. The Technicolour photography provided by Hal Mohr has a garish sheen to it, this too gives the film a confused feel, most likely the intention there is to convey a sense of gloom as Haskell's bile starts to rise. And then the first sight of Dietrich, astride a man, riding him like a horse in some bizarre barroom contest. All of which points to Lang perhaps being over audacious with his intentions. But he wasn't, and to stay with the film brings many rewards as he revels in the tale of inner turmoil. This ultimately becomes a perfect companion piece to Lang's brilliant film noir the following year, The Big Heat. The similarities between the lead male protagonist and the femme fatale are impossible to cast aside as being mere coincidence. Rest assured Lang was at home with these themes, and cinema fans are the better for it.

It was a troubled production tho, one that belies the quality of the final product. Studio head Howard Hughes kept interfering {nothing new there of course}, even taking away control of the editing from the increasingly infuriated Lang. While the relationship between the fiery director and Dietrich broke down to such an extent they stopped talking to each other by the end of the film. Dietrich was troubled by her age at this time, often begging Mohr to work miracles with his photography to convey a more youthful look for the once "Babe of Berlin". Yet she need not of worried for her real life concerns dovetail with that of her character, which in turn gives the film a revelatory performance. With Dietrich backed up by the similarity excellent Kennedy, Rancho Notorious has much class to go with its odd and visionary touches. A different sort of Western to be sure, but most definitely a Fritz Lang baby, this deserves the classic status that is now afforded it. 8/10

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