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Another Exceptional 1950s Western!
on April 5, 2015
I've been on a binge recently watching lots of 1950s budget Westerns. As a kid these movies escaped me because I didn't start going to theaters until the 1960s. In the 50s I sat glued to the TV watching cartoons and Three Stooges shorts. My Western viewing consisted mostly of the Hoppy, Gene and Roy variety. By the early 60s my interest shifted to monsters and Westerns weren't rekindled until the Spaghetti variety kick-started a few more years out of the American product which had been lying dormant. So, other than what was offered on television and the bigger product, SHANE, HIGH NOON, THE SEARCHERS, I entirely missed seeing budget Western movies from the 1950s, and as there were so many of them, I've been doing a lot of catching up lately.
What has really surprised me is just how good so many of these Westerns actually are. From watching Westerns on television I suppose that I was expecting these movies to have a very studio bound look to them with lots of sound stages and very little location work. What I found was stunning location work, interesting stories and an exceptional viewing experience, especially from lower budgeted programmers, such as the Westerns that George Montgomery made. And ROBBERS' ROOST is no exception. The Eastman Color cinematography and outdoor location shooting is outstanding, unlike Westerns made a decade or so later when muted browns and sepias were constantly used to project a feeling of past history and marginal authenticity.
Wheelchair bound Bruce Bennett hires two rival outlaw gangs to deliver his cattle to market, his idea being that each gang will keep the other one honest by not letting that gang pull a fast one. It almost works. One gang is led by Peter Graves, the other by Richard Boone, who makes you uncomfortable just by watching him display all his psycho tics. George Montgomery joins up with Boone's faction, but he's really after the last member of a gang that killed and raped his wife. Stolen horses with Montgomery's brand on them are here, so he knows his quest is nearly over. The acting is uniformly excellent, the plot involving and it's all very believable and, as I said, ROBBERS' ROOST really looks great with it's vivid color and rugged locations. Another reviewer says this film is presented in full frame format as does the DVD packaging. However, it filled the entire screen on my widescreen TV, so maybe it was formatted to do so, and if so, it really looked great. Five stars. High on entertainment, highly recommended.