(director: Sidney Lanfield; screenwriters: Frank Fenton/Winston Miller/Luke Short story in the Saturday Evening Post; cinematographer: Harry Wild; editor: Fred Knudison; music: Heinz Roemhold; cast: Dick Powell (Lt. Haven), Jane Greer (Charlie), Agnes Moorehead (Mrs. Caslon), Guinn Williams (Mick Marion), Gordon Oliver (Prince),Steve Brodie (Lt. Stellman), Raymond Burr (Mark Bristow), Tom Powers (Capt. George Isles), Regis Toomey (James Goddard), Charles Middleton (Sherriff), Dan White (Pete), Burl Ives (Hotel Clerk), Olin Holling (Cook), Michael Steele (Whitey); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Sparks; RKO; 1948=B/W)
“A predictable but well-paced and well-acted offbeat B Western.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A predictable but well-paced and well-acted offbeat B Western set in 1881, that’s effectively helmed by Sidney Lanfield (“One in a Million”/”Thin Ice”) as a noir-like western. It’s based on the short story by Luke Short that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post. Writers Frank Fenton and Winston Miller do little to hide who are the baddies but the tough guy dialog and crisp action scenes are just dandy. It was filmed in Sedona, Arizona, in black and white.
In a western saloon macho undercover agent Haven (Dick Powell), an army lieutenant on an undercover mission for Military Intelligence, is out to catch the culprits stealing gold shipments in town and who also killed two soldiers. He works secretly with the army post commander in town, Captain Iles (Tom Powers), and his main contact will be with the trusted widowed local mine owner Mrs. Caslon (Agnes Moorehead). The town power broker is the sexy saloon owner Charlie (Jane Greer), who falls for Haven when he beats up her brutish gang enforcer (Guinn Williams) in a bloody fist fight. The shady Charlie then hires Haven to run her stage line. Haven then plans to trap the gold thieves by secretly shipping gold from Caslon’s mine, but five masked men rob the gold and kill the Wells Fargo undercover stage driver (Regis Toomey) accompanying Haven. It will take the snooping detective skills of Haven to track down the thieves and murderers. Raymond Burr plays a wimpish unlucky gambling lawyer, who owes Charlie a fortune in gambling debts. Gordon Oliver plays the crime boss saloon owner’s oily accountant. While Dan White plays the stage coach robber, who works for Charlie.
REVIEWED ON 10/16/2017 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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