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: The Man From Colorado (1948)  ( 1879 )
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« : October 27, 2009, 11:27:25 AM »

This is quite a bizarre venture for the time it was made. But the fact that King Vidor had a hand at it does explain it. Ford is a Blue colonel and then a judge with a sadistic streak which impels him to kill people. Holden is his right hand who at a point turns against him. I like especially Holden, Ford being still too young to deliver a credible performance of the war ravaged judge. Though the story is fast-moving, the action, except for the finale, is not that impressive. So I give it 7\10, though it is a must-see for any fan.

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« #1 : November 16, 2011, 08:31:48 PM »

The Man from Colorado (1948) is a fairly typical Hollywood Western. Henry Levin's beatifully shot oater flirts with some dark thematic material, but ultimately turns into a routine shoot-'em-up.

Colonel Owen Devereaux (Glenn Ford) returns home from the Civil War a hero, and is elected Judge by the grateful citizenry. Only his second-in-command (and new Marshal), Del Stewart (William Holden), knows Owen's secret: he gradually went insane over the course of the war, ordering his troops to massacre surrendering Confederate soldiers. Owen's psychotic tendencies continue after the war, as he becomes a ruthless hanging Judge who sides with mine boss Ed Carter (Ray Collins) when the latter usurps small miners' claims. After a holdup leads to an innocent man's lynching, Del defects to the miners and initiates a showdown with his old friend.

The Man from Colorado begins with a decidedly dark cast. There's interesting thematic material, with returning veterans bilked out of their claims by an opportunist businessman and the ambiguities of business law. The character conflicts are interestingly established: Owen's struggle to remain sane, Del's conflict between the law and justice, the miners goaded into violence by Owen's unfair ruling. But in the second half, ambiguities fade and it becomes a much more conventional show, with Del changing sides and Owen turning unremittingly batty. After all the buildup, the last half hour seems a bit too neat.

Henry Levin is no John Ford but he turns in some fine work here. William Snyder's beautiful Technicolor photography is remarkable; even when the pace flags there's at least some nice images to look at. There are some nice setpieces, especially the nightmarish finale: Owen confronting Del and Company in the burning village is one of the most visually striking scenes in any Western.

Glenn Ford is excellent. He's undercut a bit by the same issue as Gary Cooper in Man of the West: we hear that he was a decent guy before the war, but only see him as a psychopath. Regardless, Ford handles Owen's transformation into a nutjob very well and makes him an interesting protagonist. William Holden (sporting the same blond dye job as Sabrina) is fine, but his character's conflict isn't fully realized. Ellen Drew goes through the perfunctory love interest motions. Among the supporting cast, standouts are Edgar Buchanan (Ride the High Country) as the amiable town doctor, Ray Collins (Citizen Kane) as a venal mine boss and James Millican (The Man from Laramie) as a deserter-turned-criminal.

The Man from Colorado is good but a bit underwhelming. Someone like Anthony Mann, Budd Boeticher or Sam Peckinpah could have made this story into a classic. As it stands though, it's still a respectable Western. 7/10

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« #2 : March 14, 2013, 04:08:12 AM »

caught the last 3/4 of this today, looked interesting.

"When you feel that rope tighten on your neck you can feel the devil bite your ass"!

« #3 : May 28, 2017, 04:00:11 AM »

So good I purchased the DVD  8)

War can do strange things to a man.

The end of the Civil War is nigh and one last pocket of Confederate resistance is holed up at Jacob's Gorge. Knowing their time is up they hoist the white flag in surrender. Union Colonel Owen Devereaux sees the white flag but orders the attack anyway. Returning home with his friend and colleague, Capt. Del Stewart, Devereaux grows ever more erratic by the day, his friends, his loves and all who cross him, are sure to pay if they can't rein in his madness.

Starring Glenn Ford as Devereaux and William Holden as Stewart, directed by Henry Levin, The Man from Colorado, from a story by Borden Chase, is an intriguing psychological Western. The story follows the theme of a man ravaged by war and his inability to let go of the anger and mistrust gnawing away at him. Perfectly essayed by Ford as Devereaux {great to see him donning some bad guy boots}, the film is rather grim in context. Light on action {no bad thing here at all} it's with the dialogue driven characters that Levin's film really triumphs. Having both become lawmen, it would have been easy for all to just play out a standard oater as the two friends are driven apart by not only their different levels of sanity {Holden's Stewart is an excellent counter point to Ford's blood thirst}, but also the love of a good woman {Ellen Drew's petite Caroline Emmet}. But Chase's story has other elements to keep it from ever being formulaic. There's a deep political thread involving power and those entrusted with it, while the treatment of returning soldiers is firmly given prominence. Here the "boys" return after 3 years of being knee deep in blood and bone, to find that their claims are no longer valid. Snaffled by a greedy corporate type, thus as the "boys" look to the law for help?.....

As a story I personally found this to be excellent, all I needed to seal the deal was to have some technical aspects to harness it. Thankfully it's joy of joy there as well because the Simi Valley location work is fabulous. I'm not overly familiar with William E. Snyder's cinematography work, but if this is a marker then I'd like to sample more. It's fair to say that even a "c" grade Western can look nice if given a good transfer, but when the Technicolor print is good, you can tell the difference big time, and this piece is first rate. The dusty orange and browns of the scenery fabulously envelopes the blue uniforms, while the green lamps are vivid and shine bright as if extra characters in the piece. Even Ford's greying temples have a classy sheen to them, almost belying his characters anger. All Western fans simply must hone into High Definition TV because although we always knew how fabulous these pictures looked, now it's another dimension of rewards unbound.

As the finale comes in a blaze of fire {hello, hell!}, The Man from Colorado has achieved the two essential Western requirements if it wants to be taken seriously, one is that it looks gorgeous, the other is that it has strong thematics. And then some. 8/10

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