Anthony Perkins and Jack Palance in The Lonely Man (1957)


(director: Henry Levin; screenwriters: Harry J. Essex/Robert Smith; cinematographer: Lionel Lindon; editor: William B. Murphy; music: Van Cleave; cast: Jack Palance (Jacob Wade), Anthony Perkins (Riley Wade), Neville Brand (King Fisher), Elaine Aiken (Ada Marshall), Robert Middleton (Ben Ryerson), Elisha Cook (Willie), Claude A. Akins (Blackburn), Harry Shannon (Dr. Fisher), Lee Van Cleef (Faro), Tennessee Ernie Ford (Singer); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Pat Duggan; Paramount Pictures; 1957 )

The minor western is emotionally directed by Henry Levin.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

It’s based on the 1941 film Shepherd of the Hills, and apes it with an equally sentimental ending. The minor western is emotionally directed by Henry Levin (“Two of a Kind”/”Convicted”/”The Man From Colorado”). Harry J. Essex and Robert Smith co-write the screenplay, as a redemption story for a gunslinger. It has an Oedipal complex theme.

Jacob Wade (Jack Palance) is the gunslinger with a big rep who suddenly returns home after years on the run to his ranch, now operated by his former saloon piano flame Ada (Elaine Aiken). Jacob’s surprised to discover his wife is dead and that his sensitive son Riley (Anthony Perkins) can’t stand him for deserting the family. When daddie promises him a fresh start, the son goes on the road with him. But everyplace they go, Jacob has enemies. So they return to the ranch, seeking a peaceful life.

Neville Brand and Lee Van Cleef are dad’s menacing old pals who return seeking vengeance, as they plan to ambush Jacob.