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Yellow Sky

4.5 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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(May 23, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Oscar®-winner* Gregory Peck (To Kill A Mockingbird) stars in this ?brilliantly cast? (The Hollywood Reporter) Western epic featuring ?an unusually fine story and magnificent direction ? unleashing dramatic power seldom found in this type of film!? (Daily Variety)

A band of outlaws, led by tough, gruff Stretch (Peck) find themselves knocking at death?s door after becoming lost in the treacherous western Badlands ? only to find their salvation in a lonesome town called Yellow Sky, where the only inhabitants are a doddering old man and his mysterious, alluring daughter. But their deliverance from danger is short-lived when the gang discovers a fateful secret hidden within the dusty, rotting walls of this ghost town ? one that will turn brother against brother in a desperate battle to the death!

It seems no one has ever had an unkind word for Yellow Sky, yet somehow this handsome, hard-edged, and very well-made late-'40s Western remains little-known. That may change with its release on a DVD so crisp and luminous, one wants to swear off Technicolor and luxuriate in the frosty glow of its highlights, the velvet blackness of its shadows, and the electric silver-gray of its desert skies.

Story's pretty good, too. Seven men led by Gregory Peck ride into a small Southwest town, wet their whistles at the saloon, then hold up the bank with a minimum of fuss. Escaping should be a cinch, except for a troop of cavalry who reduce their number to six and watch the survivors ride off into a desert they probably won't live to cross. Unexpected salvation looms in the form of Yellow Sky, a ghost town where the bandits find water, an old man (James Barton) and his tomboy granddaughter (Anne Baxter)--and the tempting rumor of gold. That's when the real trouble starts. The criminal partnership is severely strained by greed, several varieties of lust (for the girl as well as the treasure), the troublesome onset of conscience in some breasts and its total absence from others--notably Richard Widmark's.

Yellow Sky re-teams director William A. Wellman and writer-producer Lamar Trotti, who five years earlier had made The Ox-Bow Incident, an authentic but rather pretentious Western classic. Yellow Sky's opening scene is all but lifted from Ox-Bow (along with two character actors), but this time around, Wellman eschews self-importance and just concentrates on spinning a gritty yarn (from a novel by W.R. Burnett). Apart from sequences shot in Death Valley, the principal location is Yellow Sky itself, a grand ruin set against the timeless backdrop of the Alabama Hills. And oh yes, the man responsible for those awesome whites, blacks, and silver-grays is Joe MacDonald, the cinematographer of My Darling Clementine. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features

  • Poster gallery
  • Production still gallery
  • Behind-the-scenes still gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Gregory Peck, Anne Baxter, Richard Widmark, Robert Arthur, John Russell
  • Directors: William A. Wellman
  • Writers: Lamar Trotti, W.R. Burnett
  • Producers: Lamar Trotti
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 23, 2006
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,205 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Yellow Sky" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I saw this movie a few months back on AMC and wondered aloud 'why' it had not yet been released on DVD. I saw the movie in a theatre when first released (yes, I'm that old) and down through the years whether, Saturday Night At The Movies, or AMC, each time I see it again, enjoy it as much as ever.

It is a movie made during the years when Hollywood still knew how to make a decent western. I've been watching westerns from the 30's and 40's on the Western Channel lately, and have come to believe most of the better ones were made during those years.

Yellow Sky has a great feel to it, I read alot on the west, too, and everything in this movie has a touch of realism to it. One of the best parts of the movie is the trip across the alkalai flats prior to reaching Yellow Sky. They barely make it. But make it they do, and instead of being thankful for that alone with stolen bank money in their pockets, their greed returns to try to take the old man and "Mike's" gold.

But Yellow Sky is much more than a movie, it is just plain, flat out, good entertainment. Part of that comes from the solid cast contributing to the movie, and though it would have been great to have it shot in color, the starkness of black and white adds to the overall affect. As another reviewer says it is as good as Luke Short's STATION WEST, or numerous others such as MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, or TALL IN THE SADDLE.

If you have any interest in the older black and white westerns you cannot miss this one. And as is true prior to the later 1950's, the white hats win out in this one. No suffering, anti-hero in this movie; not much of a moral message here either, other than it is better to be good, than bad. Or pay for a woman's hat when you appropriate one for your best gal!

Semper Fi.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Yellow Sky is another in a growing list of great Westerns who are finally receiving their due by being released on DVD. This classic black and white Western was filmed before Peck's The Gunfighter, and some of his other great westerns, such as The Bravados and The Big Country.

Peck plays the leader of a band of outlaws who happen upon the seemingly deserted ghost town of Yellow Sky. As it turns out,the town does have two citizens, a prospector and his granddaughter. Figuring that the two have a stash of gold, the gang plans to rob the two, until Peck falls for the granddaughter, which pits Peck against his old gang, now led by Richard Widmark.

The scenes with Peck and the granddaughter, played by Anne Baxter, are marvelous. Widmark plays his typical sinister and shady desperado with aplomb, and the rest of the cast, including Harry Morgan and John Russell,
are great.

Check out Yellow Sky if you love good old B&W westerns. You won't be disappointed!
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Format: DVD
When it comes to the movies, in my opinion, craftsmanship trumps art most of the time. William Wellman's Yellow Sky is a movie with an intriguing story-line, strong characters in conflict, well-paced and dramatic direction, skillful acting and a satisfyingly good-natured conclusion...and without a "message" in sight. It's a small-scale and very well-made Western which, without DVDs, would probably remain as forgotten as it has been for the last fifty years.

James Dawson (Gregory Peck) leads a gang of bank robbers, a gang that includes Dude (Richard Widmark), a gambler with a bad lung, a taste for white shirts and a love of gold. It's a couple of years after the Civil War. They rob a bank and ride out of town with the money but find themselves pursued by a cavalry troop. Their only chance at escape is to head out over the salt plains, where it's deadly hot, there's no water and men and horses usually die. Half dead they manage to cross and find themselves in Yellow Sky, a broken-down ghost town filled with rolling brush and dust. They encounter the only people who live there, Mike (Anne Baxter), a tomboy who can shoot as well as most of the gang, and her aging grandfather (James Barton), an old miner. It doesn't take long for the gang to figure out that Grampa and Mike have been quietly mining and stashing away gold.

And that's the set-up. Dawson and the gang want the gold and will take it, but Dawson is prepared to share it with Mike and Grampa. Dude is willing to go along...until he has an opportunity to take all the gold for himself. And the rest of the gang?
Read more ›
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Format: DVD
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment present "YELLOW SKY" (1948) (96 mins B&W), under director William Wellman, producer & screenwriter Lamar Trotti, short novel by W.R. Burnett., musical direction by Alfred Newman . . . . .cast includes Gregory Peck (Stretch), Anne Baxter (Mike), Richard Widmark (Dude), Robert Arthur (Bull Run), John Russell (Lengthy), Harry Morgan (Half Pint), James Barton (Grandpa), Charles Kemper (Walrus), Robert Adler (Jed), Harry Carter (Lieutenant), Victor Kilian (Bartender), Paul Hurst (Drunk),Hank Worden (Rancher), Jay Silverheels (Indian), William Gould (Banker), Norman Leavitt (Bank Teller), Eula Guy (Woman in Bank), Chief Yowlachie (Colorado) . . . . . our story begins with outlaws Gregory Peck, Richard Widmark, John Russell, Harry Morgan, Robert Arthur and Charle Kemper robbing a bank, fleeing for their lives only to take refuge across the desert in a ghost town located smackdab in the middle of nowhere...near death they find an old prospector James Barton and his granddaughter Anne Baxter who help them and then must fear them in finding and stealing their gold...the novel by W.R. Burnett is neatly written as the direction from William Wellman keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat...great cast and the black and white shadows and landscape bring out that vintage look in all the right places...the final scene has a classic showdown between Peck and his gang of thieves.Read more ›
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