RIDE BACK, THE
(director/writer: Allen Miner; screenwriter: Antony Ellis; cinematographer: Joseph Biroc; editor: Michael Luciano; music: Frank De Vol; cast: William Conrad (Chris Hamish), Anthony Quinn (Bob Kallen), Lita Milan (Elena),Victor Millan (Padre), George Trevino (Guard), Ellen Hope Monroe (Child), Eddie Albert (Singer of the Ballad); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William Conrad ; United Artists; 1957)
“Unusual psychological “B” Western.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Allen Miner is the writer and director of this unusual psychological “B” Western. William Conrad is the producer and the star. He’s the lawman taking Anthony Quinn back from a small pueblo village in Mexico to Texas, where he’s to face a murder rap over a card game. The four-day ride back gives the sheriff a chance to reflect on his life and what went wrong, as he considers himself a failure in life: he has a wife who doesn’t love him, a job that he is not successful at, and a personality that the locals are not taken with. While Quinn’s girlfriend (Lita Milan) loves him so much, she would do any thing for him. The journey becomes a test of strength of character for each, with Quinn’s arrogance beginning to fade and the decent Conrad beginning to doubt his prisoner is guilty. Making the trek through the rough desert terrain harder are a band of attacking Apaches, who wound Conrad. During the action Quinn escapes but returns to help the wounded Conrad and the young girl (Ellen Hope Monroe) they picked up on the trail, whose parents were killed by the Apaches. Quinn leads them safely back to town, even though he has doubts if can get a fair trial.
Robert Aldrich supervised Miner’s directorial debut. The title song is performed by actor Eddie Albert.
Throw in a little psychological meaning into a Western and wham, it seems to make the routine seem loftier. But it still looked routine to me. It’s best seen as a character study rather than as a straight Western.
REVIEWED ON 1/31/2004 GRADE: C +