THE BROKEN STAR
(director: Lesley Selander; screenwriter: John C. Higgins; cinematographer: William Margulies; editor: John F. Schreyer; music: Paul Dunlap; cast: Howard Duff (Deputy Marshal Frank Smeed), Bill Williams (Deputy Marshal Bill Gentry), Lita Baron (Conchita Alvarado), Henry Calvin (Thornton Wills), Douglas Fowley (Hiram Charleton), Addison Richards (Marshal Wayne Forrester), Joe Dominguez (Nachez), Wm. ‘Bill’ Phillip (Doc Mott), Felipe Turich (Carlos Alvarado), Joel Ashley (Messendyke), John Pickard (Van Horn); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Howard Koch; Bel-Air (United Artists); 1956)
“Obscure B western.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Lesley Selander (“The Lone Ranger”/”The Texican”/”Saddle Pals”) directs with visible disinterest this obscure B western. Former low-budget script writer for Anthony Mann film noirs, John C. Higgins, writes the script. This film has a similar theme to Border Incident (1949). It’s set at the onset of the 20th century, in an Arizona border town.
Deputy Marshal Frank Smeed (Howard Duff) is on the property of land baron Thornton Wills (Henry Calvin) and watches a rancher deliver a water-rights payment to Carlos Alvarado (Felipe Turich), a Mexican ranch worker for the baron. Smeed kills Alvarado and steals the bag with $8,000 in gold pieces. Unknown to him, the Spanish speaking Apache handyman Nachez (Joe Dominguez), who also works for the baron, witnessed the incident. Smeed tells U.S. Marshal Wayne Forrester (Addison Richards) he caught Alvarado rustling and shot him in self-defense. Since none of the lawmen speak Spanish, Nachez writes a note to the judge and to Alvarado’s cousin, Conchita ( Lita Baron), relating what he saw. Conchita is engaged to the other deputy, Bill Gentry (Bill Williams), who is in shock when she tells him this. Smeed once saved his life from an unjust lynching party, and feels in debt to him. When Smeed discovers through the marshal there’s an eyewitness, he kills Nachez outside the Apache Reservation where he resides. Gentry has no choice now but go after Smeed.
Douglas Fowley plays a crooked Indian agent. Joel Ashley and John Pickard play two thugs who work for Fowley. They have some kind of scam going, and it’s their gold pieces that were stolen.
There’s plenty of violence in this adult western, something not usually seen in the more common-place black and white westerns.
REVIEWED ON 1/21/2015 GRADE: B- https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/