Two brothers discharged from the Confederate Army join a businessman for a cattle drive from Texas to Montana where they run into raiding Jayhawkers, angry Sioux, rough terrain and bad weather.
Will you take my boots off?
The Tall Men is directed by Raoul Walsh and stars Clark Gable, Jane Russell, Cameron Mitchell and Robert Ryan. Produced out of 20th Century Fox by William A. Bacher and William B. Hawks, it's adapted for the screen by Frank S. Nugent & Sydney Boehm from a novel written by Heck Allen (as Clay Fisher). Filmed out of Durango, the cinematography is by Leo Tover in a CinemaScope/DeLuxe production and Victor Young provides the score.
Montana Territory 1866
"They came from the South, headed for the gold-fields .Ben & Clint Allison, lonely, desperate men. Riding away from a heartbreak memory of Gettysburg. Looking for a new life. A story of tall men-and long shadows."
The Tall Men has professionalism written all over it, from the tight direction by Walsh to the on the money writing, it's a Western that has no pretencions. The panoramic vistas are beautifully realised by the makers and in spite of Russell's flat style of acting, the cast put credibility into the cattle drive and romantic aspects of the story. Tho action sequences are few and far between, the film succeeds because of the well written characters and the landscapes that frame them. There's even much comedy to enjoy as well, a department where Russell does earn her corn in the movie (there's also a bath moment to get us boys hot under the collar too). Most notably the comedy works for her when playing off of Gable who seems to be enjoying himself as the rough, tough and cheeky Ben Allison. Very talky to be sure, there are for instance many extended scenes of our lead protagonists swapping dialogue, but it all serves a purpose and in the capable hands of Walsh the sequences serve to drive the narrative forward.
Solid enjoyable stuff if ultimately a touch too long. 6.5/10
20th Century Fox by Raoul Walsh, Sydney Boehm, Frank S. Nugent, Heck Allen.
Stars: Clark Gable, Jane Russell, Robert Ryan.
Keywords: texas cattle drive
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