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The Day of the Outlaw


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Two rival cattlemen forget their differences to fight six outlaws who take over an isolated Western town.System Requirements:Running Time: 92 minutes Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: COMEDY/CLASSICS UPC: 883904106449 Manufacturer No: M110644

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Little regarded in its day (1959) and released on DVD utterly without fanfare, The Day of the Outlaw is a knockout, an unusual western with a compelling story, a host of fine actors, and a sinister vibe that just won’t quit. The setting is a tiny, snowbound Wyoming outpost called Bitters--a most appropriate name, at least when it comes to Blaise Starrett (Robert Ryan), a hard-edged rancher who bitterly resents the farmers whose barbed wire fences hamper his cattle drives. The fact that one of the farmers is married to the love of Blaise’s life, Helen (Tina Louise--yep, that’s Ginger from Gilligan’s Island; also in the cast are David Nelson, Ozzie’s son and Ricky’s older brother, and model Venetia Stevenson, who would later marry Don Everly), doesn’t help his disposition any. In fact, Blaise is getting ready to kill his rival when big trouble comes to Bitters in the form of a gang of bank robbers on the run from the law. Led by a former Cavalry officer named Bruhn (a commanding performance by Burl Ives), these are some nasty, repellent dudes; only Bruhn’s iron hand keeps them from laying waste to the town, especially its women, of whom there are just four. But he’s been mortally wounded, which means it’s only a matter of time before the inmates take over the asylum; indeed, watching these brutes as the lure of whiskey and womenfolk threatens to turn them into gun-toting Beavises and Butt-heads creates an almost tangible tension that makes the film hard to watch but impossible to turn away from. The black & white cinematography only adds to the bleakness, and Hungarian director Andre De Toth’s sure hand results in several terrific scenes, especially the Saturday night "dance" (where the women desperately try to fight off the outlaws’ loutish advances) and the extended final sequence, which finds Blaise helping the bad guys escape--or so they think--across the snow-covered mountains. Riveting stuff. --Sam Graham

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Ryan, Burl Ives, Tina Louise, Alan Marshal, Venetia Stevenson
  • Directors: Andre De Toth
  • Format: Black & White, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 1.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: May 13, 2008
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0014BJ1DG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,235 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Day of the Outlaw" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By B. Cathey on March 19, 2008
Format: DVD
Robert Ryan is not usually thought of as a Western actor, but his credits in that genre are numerous and uniformly excellent, from HORIZONS WEST to THE PROUD ONES and the HOUR OF THE GUN, not to mention THE WILD BUNCH. THE DAY OF THE OUTLAW, in stark black and white, is one of his finest, and perhaps the finest directed by the underrated Andre De Toth. Burl Ives makes a superb "baddie," almost along the lines of Donald Pleasants. Set in the snowy high altitudes, the film exudes a superbly shaped "coldness" that is also reflected in the lean dialogue. All in all, a very worthy film, well worth owning.
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Format: DVD
"Now listen," says Jack Bruhn (Burl Ives), renegade former captain in the U. S. Army, to the frightened men and women of Bitters, population about 20, four of them women. It's deep winter and Bruhn and his men have just barged into the saloon as rancher Blaise Starrett (Robert Ryan) was about to gun down farmer Hal Crane. "Do as you're told and you can go about your business just like we're not here, almost. But we are here so it's best you know with what you're dealing. Pace here gets pleasure out of hurting people. Tex, rile him and you're going to hear some screaming in this town today. Denver, half Cheyenne. Him hate white man. He doesn't feel half so badly about white women. Vause, bones covered with dirty skin but even half drunk he's the fastest draw in Wyoming Territory. And Shorty. We soldiered together. The young fella, well, he's a fresh recruit but he's learning fast."

For the rest of the day and through the night Bruhn by force of will is going to control his motley, dangerous gang. He'll deny them liquor, deny them the town's women, and undergo an excruciating operation by the town vet to extract a bullet from a lung. They're on the run with $40,000 in gold in their saddlebags. The U.S. Cavalry is on their trail. Bruhn is a complex man with an odd sense of honor. He was responsible for a massacre by soldiers under his command. His justice is ruthless. His authority is complete...as long as he lives. Right now he is the only one capable of keeping his gang of killers from tearing up Bitters by its roots.

And that includes Blaise Starrett, an angry rancher...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Chris Gibbs on May 30, 2008
Format: DVD
This is a grim, taught film, almost more noir than Western, with surprisingly little gunplay but plenty of wide-open nature. The town looks like another blizzard would blow it away, and the snow and the cold do much of the work, e.g. Tex and Starret at the end. The dance sequence is brilliantly violent sexuality barely kept in check, almost a rape sequence. The acting is uniformly excellent, with Ryan and Ives leading, but the henchmen and the townspeople are perfectly presented. Excellent pacing, real tension. First rate.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James Simpson on July 18, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Andre De Toth's "Day of the Outlaw(1959)" is one of the grimmest and most tense Westerns of the 1950s. The genre had really come of age that decade with a much stronger emphasis on adult themes and the lines between hero and villain starting to become blurred for all time. This film may include a B-movie title but does not properly convey what is a suspense classic with a high level of intelligence.

The film tells the story of a rancher(Robert Ryan) who is one conflicted dude. He is being forced out of town by the very people he had protected, getting his land stomped upon and is bitter that one of the town's lead ranchers has married the love of his life(Tina Louise). He is about to duel the husband and two other men when a gang of outlaws arrive in town led by Burl Ives. He is a former cavalery Captain who now leads a group of bank robbers who are making off with a load of stolen gold with Cavalery on there trail. Ive's men are homicidal maniacs and lay siege to the small town. They listen to Ives but he is dying from a gunshot wound and it's only a matter of time before the outlaws tear the town apart.

The film is highly tense with wonderful Black and White cinematography that combine a sense of naturalistic beauty with the snow and wilderness and a high sense of dread. The segment where all the girls in the town are forced to dance with the outlaws is one of the more tense and disturbing filmed in a Western.Beautiful Tina Louise particularly stands out as the camera stays on her being flung from man to man her tied up hair loosening with each swing until it hangs free and she becomes increasingly disheaveled and sexy as her classy refined demeanor is stripped away in real time as she dances about the room. It's incredibly well done.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T O'Brien on October 26, 2008
Format: DVD
In the 1950s, westerns took a turn to the more intellectual with less reliance on mindless action, Day of the Outlaw is one of those psychological westerns. Rancher Blaise Starrett (what a cool western name) owns a spread in the mountains of Wyoming, but he's having trouble with the local farmers who want to fence off the area. But just when the confrontation is coming to a full boil, a gang of vicious renegades on the run ride into town to rest up after being chased by the cavalry for robbing an Army payroll. Now Blaise and the townfolk must band together if they hope to survive against these ruthless killers. Being a psychological western, there isn't a ton of action here, but when it comes it's surprising and meant to catch you off guard. Not many westerns filmed in winter settings, but the snowy locations add to the dark, cynical feel of the movie and the use of black and white really adds to the effect. Take advantage of this new DVD, the movie's well worth a watch.

The always reliable Robert Ryan leads a strong cast as Blaise Starrett, the Wyoming rancher who's always been interested in his own problems but now finds himself having to look out for the well-being of others. Starrett makes a noble transformation by the end of the movie, something you actually believe in because it's Robert Ryan. Singer Burl Ives gives a startling performance as Captain Jack Bruhn, a cavalry officer with a checkered past now leading a band of ruthless renegades. Bruhn is not like his men and single-handedly keeps them behaved. A pre-Gilligan's Island Tina Louise shows what a good actress she is as Helen Crane, a farmer's wife who has feelings for Starrett but neither of them know what to do if they want to be together.
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