Jubal (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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A trio of exceptional performances from Glenn Ford (3:10 to Yuma) Ernest Borgnine (Marty) and Rod Steiger (On the Waterfront) form the center of Jubal an overlooked Hollywood treasure from genre master Delmer Daves (3:10 to Yuma). In this Shakespearean tale of jealousy and betrayal Ford is an honorable itinerant cattleman befriended and hired by Borgnine's bighearted ranch owner despite his unwillingness to talk about his past. When the new hand becomes the target of the flirtatious attentions of the owner's bored wife (Valerie French) and is entrusted by the boss with a foreman's responsibilities his presence at the ranch starts to rankle his shifty fellow cowhand played by Steiger. The resulting emotional showdown imparts unparalleled psychology intensity to this western a vivid melodrama featuring expressive location photography in Technicolor and
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Directed by Delmer Daves
Likable (and extremely gullible) ranch owner Shep Horgan (Ernest Borgnine) hires handsome drifter Jubal Troop (Glenn Ford) as a cowhand, much to the delight of Horgan's hedonistic wife Mae (Valerie French). But psychotic ranch hand Pinky Pinkum (Rod Steiger) is envious of Jubal and hoping to enjoy Mae's sexual favors himself - ergo, he sows the seeds of suspicion in Horgan's mind by falsely accusing Jubal of messing around with Mae. Within the maelstrom of emotions that develop, the virtuous Naomi Hoktor (Felicia Farr) comes to the aid of Jubal
Although often considered to be (Shakespeare's) `Othello Out West', Jubal is officially based on a novel by Paul I. Wellman.
Solid dramatic western - a blueprint for many 50s westerns
1. Delmer Daves [Director]
Date of Birth: 24 July 1904 - San Francisco, California
Date of Death: 17 August 1977 - La Jolla, California
2. Glenn Ford (aka: Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford)
Date of Birth: 1 May 1916 - Sainte-Christine, Quebec, Canada
Date of Death: 30 August 2006 - Beverly Hills, Los Angeles County, California
3. Ernest Borgnine
Date of Birth: 24 January 1917 - Hamden, Connecticut
Date of Death: Still Living
4. Rod Steiger
Date of Birth: 14 April 1925 - Westhampton, New York
Date of Death: 9 July 2002 - Los Angeles, California
5. Valerie French [aka: Valerie Harrison]
Date of Birth: 11 March 1928 - London, England, UK
Date of Death: 3 November 1990 - New York City, New York
6.Read more ›
The film is a relatively typical story of jealousy, betrayal, and revenge revolving around an unfaithful wife to the Ernest Borgnine character. All this ultimately leads to tragedy. I found the ending to be a little too convenient, but then this is nothing new for these kind of films that are basically designed to give the viewer what he wants and expects.
Any Glenn Ford fan, however, can't go wrong with this film. It is also cool to see a pre-superstar Charles Bronson in a supporting role, and as mentioned earlier, a great performance by Rod Steiger.
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Jubal is a luckless drifter, played by Ford who is rescued from exposure and starvation by wealthy rancher Ernest Borgnine. Borgnine soons put Jubal to work as a ranch hand. Borgnine has a very young and beautiful wife, played by Valerie French. She takes a strong liking to Jubal, which not only complicates his relationship with Borgnine, but further strains his dealings with a jealous fellow ranch hand Pinky, played by Rod Steiger. Things go downhill from there.
Add Felicia Farr playing her normal stalwart Western beauty and Charles Bronson as a friend of Jubal's, and you have the making of a great film. It's way past time that this was on DVD.
Judging from other entries, such as 1958's "Cowboy", Daves seems genuinely intrigued by the real life of cowhands. Thus the cowhands in Jubal are more vividly drawn and distinctively presented than their usual role as faceless stage props. The story itself features a fairly explicit (for its time) woman in heat (French), whose scheming shenanigans set off a plot-driving chain of events, while shifting alliances among ranch hands and settlers round out a sprawling and sometimes over-generous plot. And, oh yes, making a sudden appearance half way through, a lonesome Charles Bronson in a tacked on role that perhaps provided a needed payday, (Daves and Bronson had been together in the earlier, oddball essay "Drumbeat".) If none of this sounds good, then just sit back and take in the beautifully photographed alpine landscape that has salvaged many a western much less worthy than "Jubal".
THE STORY: An injured drifter, Glenn Ford as Jubal Troop, is rescued by ranch-owner Shep (Earnest Borgnine), who ultimately promotes him to foreman of his ranch. This stirs up the envy of ranch-hand Pinky (Rod Steiger) and the desire of Shep's young sexpot wife, Mae (Valerie French), which results in even more hostility from Pinky since he used to enjoy the adulterous attentions of Mae until Jubal came along. The captivating drama is as old as the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife from Genesis 39.
Add to this mix a group of trespassing Mennonites (or perhaps Quakers) who have in their company Naomi (Felicia Farr), a godly woman who attracts Jube's romantic eye, and Reb (Charles Bronson), another drifter who befriends Jube.
WHAT WORKS: For the first hour and ten minutes or so "Jubal" is captivating cinema of the highest order. Shep (Borgnine) is simpleminded and naïve, but likable and full of mirth. Mae (French) is fully clothed at all times, yet somehow oozes sexuality with every simple glance or word, proving that sexiness involves way more than merely showing skin. Naomi (Farr) is an interesting addition to the story: her purity attracts Jube just as much as Mae's adulterous tactics turn him off.
Rod Steiger is perfect as the villainous Southerner-turned-Westerner "Pinky." Notice how his hostility toward Jubal is rooted in arrogance, envy and jealousy. Also notice that his strategy to destroy Jubal is deception -- getting others to believe lies. This is how it happens in real life with enemies who hate you for no actual reason. Since there's no grounds for their hatred they resort to lies to destroy your reputation and poison people's minds against you.
Glenn Ford is perfect as the tragedy-laden drifter and how can you go wrong with (a young) Charles Bronson?
A big bonus is that the film was shot on location with the mighty Grand Tetons as a backdrop the entire story. These magnificent Wyoming mountains are nothing short of breathtaking!
The last act is potent in that it reveals the destructive power of a lie, IF it's believed. The only people liars can deceive are simpletons with no discernment; the wise remain skeptical until they observe concrete proof. You'll notice that two of Shep's men refuse to take Pinky as his word because they discern his fleshly motivations, not to mention they likely caught him in lies before.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK: There's too much scampering around in the last act as the plot ties-up loose ends, but it's redeemed by the powerful subtext. Also, the opening credits score is understandably dated but, thankfully, the rest of the score isn't bad for the 50s; in other words, it doesn't prevent you from enjoying the movie.
BOTTOM LINE: Make no mistake, "Jubal" is a powerful psychological Western; there's thankfully no Disney-like unrealistic vibe anywhere to be found, nor lame attempts at humor (like "The Desperadoes"). The film expertly touches on issues of friendship, envy, jealousy, competition, lust, hate, love, hope and the destructive power of a lie.
Let me add that Jubal is a man of fascinating noble character: he amazingly resists the skillful advances of the luscious Mae, like Joseph with Potiphar's wife, obviously because he wanted something better -- a woman he could trust!
"Jubal" is a must for every Western fan's film library.
The film runs 100 minutes.
Shep, a friendly good-natured husband and the best loved man in the territory, offers his help and trust to Jubal and names him his foreman... Shep was proud of the "sheep-herding friend" who got lost in the blizzard, and came over the pass from Montana, running from "bad luck."
Mae (Valerie French), a rancher's wanton wife, spins the plot by her attentions to the disinterested cowboy Jubal, which further stirs up the surly range rider (Rod Steiger) with whom she had previously been carrying on an affair, unknown to her genteel husband...
Truthful and straightforward, Jubal is caught between a loyal friend and an insistent desirous unfaithful wife who considers her husband's fine ranch a "10,000 acres of lonesomeness."
Mae was not in love with her unattractive husband... She thought she just picked the right guy to patch it up with... She even considered an evil plan in her mind... Maybe another affair, a new love, a murder...
One night, she went crazy... She lied to Shep telling him that Jubal was here in their room, in their bed... She yelled angrily in pain: "I'm sick to my stomach every time you kiss me. Let go of me. I hate you. I hate the way you look at me. I hate every single thing about you. I love him. Do you hear? I love Jube."
In that moment, Mae inflames a torrid fuse of sex, jealousy and revenge which make of Delmer Daves' "Jubal" a rather engrossing piece of adult entertainment...
Glenn Ford was honest in his feelings toward his boss ("Shep made me feel like somebody. Shep gave me a reason for living.") ignoring that he was caught in a net of lies, murder, and uncontrolled passions...
Rod Steiger was exceptional as the sadistic top hand who strongly disliked Jubal's gizzard... Pinky spots Mae's sights on Jubal... His jealous was so great as his strong sexual desire for the ex-lover...
In her film debut, Felicia Far was the radiant and beautiful as the little Rawhider responding to expert handling...
"Jubal" returned Charles Bronson to the West and to the company of director Delmer Daves, with whom he had made "Drum Beat." Cast as a ranch-hand friend of Ford's in the employ of Borgnine, Bronson contributes his natural masculine presence to this psychological Western...
Set against the mountainous fertile valley of the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, and beautifully photographed in CinemaScope and Technicolor, "Jubal" is a powerful adult Western in constant suspense...