Nevada Smith is the young son of an Indian mother and white father. When his father is killed by three men over gold, Nevada sets out to find them and kill them. The boy is taken in by a gun merchant. The gun merchant shows him how to shoot and to shoot on time and correct.
More than a Western.
More than a Western indeed, perhaps a straight forward revenge drama in substance? But it is also a fine character study of a man coming to terms with growing up faster than he ever thought he would have to. What makes the film smart and lifts it above average are the structured segments, as director Henry Hathaway weaves a potent and interesting story by making each part of Nevada Smith/Max Sand's journey an involving character piece, one that puts you firmly on side with the protagonist and his vengeful quest.
Credit has to go to McQueen for putting great gusto into the character when it was badly needed, for to save the film from being standard fare we need the leading man to involve us in his troubled and confused state, thankfully he does this with bells on. The locations and sets put gloss on the story and in the main the rest of the cast do very well, however, I'm one of the few amateur reviewers who feels that Karl Malden just doesn't cut it as the chief villain of the piece. I feel the character who carried out these vile crimes should have been far more menacing than the shaky overplayed villain that Malden gives us.
Nevada Smith brings great action sequences, a memorable story, and an ending that brings the character full circle. These things that combine to give us an involving entertainment that stars a great leading man, who in turn is directed with very professional and genre knowing hands. 8/10
Solar Productions, Paramount, Embassy Pictures Corporation by Henry Hathaway, Harold Robbins, John Michael Hayes.
Stars: Steve McQueen, Karl Malden, Brian Keith, Arthur Kennedy.
Keywords: repayment revenge native american wild west half breed
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