Friday, April 19, 2013

ALONG THE GREAT DIVIDE (1951)

Excellent western.  Kirk Douglas (in his first western) plays a law man who, along with his two deputies, come upon a man (Brennan) about to get lynched.  Kirk rescues the guy and hears from the lynching party that he's guilty of murder.  Kirk reminds them that it's not up to them to take the law into their own hands and he's gonna take the accused man into town for a fair trial.  Easier said than done cause the town is a long way off and the men from the lynching party are still determined to kill this dude.  Added to the direct threat of getting shot by the men trailing them, Douglas has to deal with the psychological warfare being dealt out by the accused man (and his daughter Virginia Mayo) who will do anything to free him including turning Kirk's own deputies against him.

I don't know what the earliest example of the "transporting-the-prisoner" sub-genre is, I'd always thought it was 1952's THE NARROW MARGIN, but I guess I was wrong cause ATGD predates it by a year and does a great job of it.  Quick pace, top-notch acting, well-written script, beautiful desert scenery, good camerawork.  Overall ALONG THE GREAT DIVIDE is a solid film.  Recommended.

Double-feature with THE NAKED SPUR.