As the volatile Dunson, John Wayne gives one of his most finely nuanced performances. Living by a personal code of ethics which doesn't always translate into lawful or even rational behavior, Wayne is neither sympathetic nor deplorable; he's simply human. His performance is bolstered by the contrast provided by the quietly charasmatic Montgomery Clift, whose unspoken love and respect for Wayne's father figure shine through the fear and intimidation he expresses. (Remarkably, this was Clift's first performance in front of the movie cameras; the stage-trained actor seems to have adapted instinctively to the more subtle technique required of film work.Read more ›
As a Western, it certainly has it all: cowboys killing Indians, men leaving women for the call of the trail, gunfights, stampedes, love, betrayal, and finally redemption. It is also gorgeously filmed, beautifully written, and well acted throughout. And finally, it stars John Wayne, an actor that towers over today's crop of male actors like an oak over weeping willows.
This film also stars Montgomery Clift as the surrogate son that eventually challenges Wayne for control of the drive. In terms of acting styles, Clift and Wayne were about as different as two actors could be: Wayne seemed always to act on instinct and charisma, while Clift was one of the young Turks through the 40's and 50's, a proponent of a new style of acting - the method developed by Lee Strasburg (one can easily imagine Wayne giving his crooked sarcastic grin over the very idea of a "school" where young people learn acting). Yet, casting these two together works. By all reports, the two hated each other at the beginning of the production, but had developed an actor's respect for one another by the end of filming. Wayne, after watching Clift in one of his scenes, was quoted as saying something like "damn, that little queer sure can act."
John Wayne, for his part, goes toe-to-toe with the new school of internal acting and more than holds his own.Read more ›
If I could I'd give this four and a half stars, because there are a few flaws. Read more