Saturday, August 16, 2014

STRANGER ON HORSEBACK (1955)

Circuit judge Joel McCrea is making the rounds when he comes upon a town that's run completely by one man, Josiah Bannerman (played by John McIntire).  There also happened to be an undocumented shooting a few days ago featuring Bannerman's son, Tom (Kevin McCarthy).  The shooting was supposedly in self-defense, but once McCrea starts doing some digging he sees that the younger Bannerman has a history of killing people in "self-defense".  He arrests Tom, but that doesn't go over well with Bannerman and his hired guns.  Will McCrea live long enough to get Tom to trial?

The story's not original, but the strong cast makes this an interesting time waster.  Unfortunately due to the lack of action scenes the time your gonna waste is barely even an hour (66 minutes of you count the credits).  Director Jacques Tourneur had a lot of films under his belt by this time in his career so I'm sure he knew the script needed punching up, but I'm guessing the budget didn't allow it.  Fortunately his next film, the same year's WICHITA (also staring McCrea) turned out better.

Good cast, steady pace, low action, forced romantic storyline, cat sitting on a desk, nice photography, unoriginal story.  Average lower budget 1950's Western.