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Stranger On Horseback

30 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Sep 16, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Joel McCrea brings law and order to the range in Stranger on Horseback . McCrea portrays a circuit judge Richard Thorne, who comes to a small western town in the course of making his rounds. There he finds the town and surrounding area under the feudal thumb of an oldline family headed by Josiah Bannerman (John McIntire). Despite wholehearted opposition and obstacles, Thorne fingers Bannerman s spoiled son, Tom (Kevin McCarthy) for murder and smokes out the necessary frightened witnesses and defies the whole clan by seeing that justice is done. In doing so he even wins the grudging respect of the old cattle baron, gains the love of the latter s strong-willed niece, Amy (Miroslava Stern), and awakens the sheriff (Emile Meyer) to a new sense of duty. Bonus Features: Scene Selection, Trailers, Radio Hour: Radio Shows: Tales of Texas Rangers, Audio biographies by Joel Blumberg, Original Theatrical Trailer, Adlets: Lonesome Trail DF, Tall Texan, Western Noir DF, Great Jesse James Raid & Other Legendary Outlaws Product Specs: DVD9; Dolby Digital; 66 minutes; Color; 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA NR; Year 1955; SRP - $14.99

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Walter S. Baldwin, James Bell, John Carradine, Robert Cornthwaite, Nancy Gates
  • Directors: Jacques Tourneu
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Restored, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 16, 2008
  • Run Time: 66 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001CR4966
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,503 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Stranger On Horseback" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By B. Cathey on August 15, 2008
Format: DVD
After 1945, Joel McCrea, like his friend and contemporary "cowboy" Randy Scott, acted almost exclusively in Westerns. Several of those he made for Universal stand out---CATTLE DRIVE, SADDlE TRAMP, and BORDER RIVER, in particular. But he also made THE OUTRIDERS (MGM), WICHITA (Allied Artists), and several others of very good quality [let's hope these get released on silver disc soon!]. STRANGER ON HORSEBACK is one of McCrea's best, perhaps his best outing between CATTLE DRIVE and RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY. His taciturn but entirely engaging manner is on full display. Add to this good casting of John McIntyre, Kevin McCarthy, and others, and you have the makings of a fine oater. Thanks to VCI for releasing this little gem! Let's hope more McCrea will follow...what about it Universal? And WICHITA certainly merits release, as well.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By J. Lovins HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 25, 2008
Format: DVD
VCI Entertainment presents "STRANGER ON HORSEBACK" (23 March 1955) (55 mins/Color) (Dolby digitally remastered) -- Joel McCrea was an American film actor.who became interested in films after graduating from Pomona College --- He worked as an extra in films from 1927 before being cast in a major role in "THE JAZZ AGE" (1929) --- A contract with MGM followed, and then another with RKO--- He established himself as a handsome leading man who was considered versatile enough to star in both dramas and comedies.

In the 1930s, McCrea starred in two large-scale westerns, "WELLS FARGO" (1937) with wife-to-be Francis Dee and Cecil B. DeMille's "UNION PACIFIC" (1939) with Barbara Stanwyck --- He reached the peak of his early career in the early 1940s, in such films as Alfred Hitchcock's "FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT" (1940) and two by Preston Sturges, "SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS" (1941), and "THE PALM BEACH STORY" (1942).

McCrea also starred in two William A. Wellman westerns, "THE GREAT MAN'S LADY" (1942), again with Stanwyck, and "BUFFALO BILL", with character actor Edgar Buchanan (1944) --- After the success of "THE VIRGINIAN" (1946), McCrea made westerns exclusively for the rest of his career--with the exception of the British-made "ROUGH SHOOT" (1953) --- In 1959, Joel McCrea and his son Jody McCrea starred in the NBC-TV series WICHITA TOWN", which lasted one season and was produced by the Mirisch Corp --- 1962 saw him united with fellow veteran of westerns Randolph Scott in "RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY" (1962), under the direction of Sam Peckinpah.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Cumbow on August 11, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
STRANGER ON HORSEBACK is the least known of Jacques Tourneur's westerns, which include two other Joel McCrea vehicles, WICHITA and STARS IN MY CROWN (not really a western in my view, but widely regarded as such), and the justly celebrated CANYON PASSAGE. The tightly-constructed story involves a circuit-riding judge with high standards of personal and public behavior faced with some difficult decision-making when he runs up against the renegade son of a too-powerful rancher. This is one of the best examples of the way Tourneur uses windows and doors as referents for different planes of vision and passages between diverse systems of moral value. This disk appears to have been reproduced from a television broadcast, and isn't as pretty as the film deserves, but for now it's all we've got and we're sure lucky to have it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard J. Oravitz on April 3, 2012
Format: DVD
Joel McCrea could do this stuff in his sleep but always manages to bring a sense of conviction and sincerity to his Western characterizations. McCrea's judge Thorne is a mature, level-headed man up against impossible odds yet goes about his job as though it were daily routine. One could see why McCrea wanted Jacques Tourneur to direct as his character is similar to the one he played in Tourneur's STARS IN MY CROWN, a man of deep convictions who straps on his guns only when there is no other way.

Surprisingly, this film actually has the feel of an early Spaghetti Western, in that our hero faces several situations in which he is vastly out-numbered (as in DJANGO) yet easily deals with the situation. The photography and locales (Sedona) greatly enhance the experience. As for odd touches, I personally like the wide-angle shot in the marshal's office with the cat just off to the right cleaning itself while important dialogue is being're focused on the cat until you realise that you'd better pay attention here.

It seems that Tom Bannerman (well played by Kevin McCarthy) has shot and killed an innocent man who objected to Tom molesting his wife. The Bannermans run the whole valley (much like the Barkleys, only they're not as nice) and Josiah Bannerman (another great John McIntire performance) doesn't want his only son standing trial for murder and he sets his minions against McCrea's Thorne, a man committed to uphold the law and bring Tom to trial at all costs. This plays like RIO BRAVO before RIO BRAVO, with touches of GUNMAN'S WALK and Burt Lancaster's later (1970's) LAWMAN thrown in.

Emile Meyer also gives an excellent performance as the Town Marshal who sides with McCrea.
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