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Vengeance Valley

Language:

English   Country: USA   Year: 1951

Vengeance Valley
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Director:

Richard Thorpe

Starring:

Burt Lancaster; Robert Walker

Genres:

Western

Synopsis:

Two others (one foster and one natural) fight over women and cows - not necessarily in that order.

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User Reviews

 

(Average=2.33 out of 5; Total Number=3)


Sturdy Western (rating=3)

This is a sturdy western featuring beautiful color photography, and an interesting character study. Burt Lancaster plays a stolid, depedable foster son who reluctantly has to face down his reckless foster brother played by Robert Walker. Walker and Lancaster play off each other well, their naturally opposing acting styles heightning the conflict between these two. Unfortunately, Robert Walker, who made quite an impression in his short film career -- especially in Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train" -- would be dead shortly after this film was released. A sad footnote to an overlooked but interesting film.

OK Western, Poor Quality Tape (rating=1)

I purchased Front Row Entertainment's VHS version of "Vengeance Valley" and was bitterly disappointed. The video quality is poor and the sound track is no better. The story, from what I could make of it, is humdrum. If you're a Lancaster fan, however, the movie is worth having in your collection. And if you're a fan of wasting 20 bucks on a poor quality video, this is a tape for you!

A Good Cast In An Average Western (rating=3)

Vengeance Valley is an average Western. Its best feature is a remarkably strong cast. This alone means that it ought not to be classified as a B film, for second features could not afford so many familiar faces, nor could they afford the fine location shooting which is to be found in Vengeance Valley. The cast perform quite well. Robert Walker always makes a better villain than a good guy. He portrays both weakness and malevolence in a performance which bears comparison with his more celebrated role in Strangers on a Train. It is always a pleasure to watch Burt Lancaster, but his acting lacks the authority which would be present in his later films. I always look out for Joanne Dru films, but this is not one of her best. The feisty and beautiful heroine of She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Red River seems to have faded somewhat and it is possible to see in this film the seeds of her decline as a star. She would make no more important films after this.

The story is interesting without being original. Walker and his foster brother Lancaster fight it out over Dru and Cattle. Strangely the 'vengeance' of the film's title does not refer to this aspect of the plot, but to a sub-plot in which two cowboys seek vengeance on the man who made their sister pregnant. Still Vengeance Valley makes a more snappy title than Battling Brothers.

This is by no means a classic Western, but it is perfectly competent. It may not linger long in the memory, but fans of the genre will certainly enjoy the ride while it lasts.


Summary

The charms of DVD sometimes passeth understanding.Vengeance Valley is an 83-minute B Western directed (barely) by the dullest of MGM hacks, Richard Thorpe, and based on one of the genre's hoariest formulas--the bad natural son (Robert Walker), the good foster son (Burt Lancaster), and the range empire they respectively imperil and rescue. Everyone on board was marking time: Walker, who otherwise spent 1951 playing Bruno Anthony in Hitchcock'sStrangers on a Train, and who would be dead within the year; Lancaster, whose glum performance hints at neither the gusto of his early-'50s swashbucklers nor the fact that he would soon be collecting Oscar nominations; Joanne Dru (playing Walker's recent bride), who only a year earlier was working for John Ford; and screenwriter Irving Ravetch, who would draw a much more auspicious ranch-land assignment a decade later withHud (1963). No, we can't make exalted claims forVengeance Valley--but that's just the point: this is an absolutely typical slice of moviegoing life in 1951, and watching this DVD is as uncanny as a trip in a time machine. The aura is perfected by the true three-strip Technicolor print, not a latterday Eastmancolor approximation of the real thing. Throw in a supporting cast of such sagebrush perennials as John Ireland, Will Wright, Glenn Strange, Jim Hayward, and TV's Wyatt Earp-to-be, Hugh O'Brian, and you've got a quintessential Saturday at the Bijou. Now if only thegreat color films of the period could all look this good....-- Richard T. Jameson