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Choya (Alan Ladd) finds himself in the middle of a cruel con, and then finds he has a conscience. In Branded, a very good Western, Ladd plays a man who has always done what he wants, a loner at heart. "You got any friends?" an old man asks him. "My guns," Choya says. "Kinfolk?" "My horse."
Choya meets P. Jefferson Leffingwell (Robert Keith), who shows Choya how he can claim to be the lost son of the Lavery family, wealthy ranch owners. The son was kidnapped more than 20 years ago and has never been heard of since. Richard Lavery (Charles Bickford) renews each year a $100,000 reward in the hope of hearing something about his son. Choya and Leffingwell plan to split the reward, and with Choya accepted as the son, Leffingwell points out that in time he'll inherit the cattle ranch as well...and maybe to speed things up they'll even help Lavery into an early grave.
A tattooed birthmark and Choya's own cleverness do the trick. Lavery and his wife, fragile emotionally since the child was taken, and the Lavery's daughter, Ruth (Mona Freeman), accept Choya completely. Then something happens that now drives the movie into a new direction. He falls for Ruth and he is changed by the decency and openness of the Laverys. He decides to redeem himself by trying to find the real son and then disappearing. This sets off yet more unexpected developments.
Branded, in my view, is an excellent Western. There's great scenery, of course, and plenty of action.Read more ›
There is something quintessentially cinematic and mythic in the image of a man on a horse under an expansive sky. "Branded" fills that bill to the Technicolor rim, contradicting an often held opinion that westerns simply look better in black and white. Sydney Boehm's unpredictable screenplay comes from a Max Brand novel and meshes well with Mate's sense of pacing.
Alan Ladd was an actor of limited range, and came off best when his persona of icy precision was used to full advantage, as it is here in the role of Choya. This film literally starts off with a bang. Choya is holed up in a general store, surrounded by enemies. He pulls off an exciting escape and teams up with T. Jefferson Leffingwell (Robert Keith) and his aptly named partner, Tattoo (John Berkes). Leffingwell has a guaranteed get rich scheme. Leffingwell knows of a wealthy ranch family with a long lost son who was kidnapped 25 years ago. The son had a unique birthmark, which Tattoo tattoos on Choya's shoulder. Once Tattoo's services are no longer needed, Leffingwell brutally murders his partner to increase his share. Choya doesn't seem to care.Read more ›
Ladd married his agent/manager and former movie actress Sue Carol in 1942 --- It was at this point that Carol found a vehicle which made Ladd's career, "This Gun for Hire" --- His performance as a hitman with a conscience made him a sensation --- Ladd went on to become one of Paramount Pictures' most popular stars --- A brief timeout for military service with the United States Army Air Force's First Motion Picture Unit did not diminish his popularity --- None of his subsequent films of the 1940s were as notable as "This Gun for Hire", but he did appear to good effect in Raymond Chandler's story "The Blue Dahlia" (1946) alongside the similarly diminutive Veronica Lake (5'2" or 1.57 m), with whom he had been paired in "This Gun for Hire" (1942) --- His Captain Carey, U.S.A. (1950) was notable for its soundtrack containing Nat King Cole's classic song, "Mona Lisa".
He formed his own production companies for film and radio and starred in his own syndicated series "Box 13", which ran from 1948 to 1949 --- In 1956, Ladd proposed a television series based on his radio series "Box 13". The idea didn't sell. Ladd himself had played his "Box 13" character Dan Holiday in the "Committed" episode of "General Electric Theater" (1953) on television.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great western. You should have this in your collection if you are a buff for great western classics.Published 5 months ago by Sara Ann. James
A really, really interesting story, a true Western Tragedy, as the viewer "roots" for different characters, and with an excellent cast. Read morePublished 13 months ago by scholarboy
Not your run of the mill western. Ladd is a good actor with a good part and the plot is not predictable could have used a stronger love interest but that was not the focus of the... Read morePublished 16 months ago by harry
I have the old VHS tape and not the DVD, so cannot comment on disc quality. As for the story, though, it is excellent. A well written and taut western that is full of action. Read morePublished 16 months ago by CowboyFanKarl
I enjoyed the movie very much. Thought Alan Ladd did a beautiful job and chemistry between him and
Mona Freeman was good. Read more
Having been a fan of Alan Ladd many years back. I enjoyed seeing him in action again in these old movies. No problems with soundPublished 17 months ago by H.S. Hutchinson
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