The Violent Men
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An ex-Confederate Army officer, John Parrish (Glenn Ford, 3:10 to Yuma, 1957), plans to sell up to nearby Anchor Ranch and move east with his fiancée, but the low price offered by Anchor's crippled owner, Lee Wilkenson (Edward G. Robinson, Mackenna's Gold), and the outfit's bullyboy tactics make him think again. When one of his ranch hands is murdered, he decides to stay and fight, utilizing hiswar experience. Meanwhile, all is not well at Anchor Ranch where the owner's wife, Martha (BarbaraStanwyck, T.V.'s "The Big Valley), has been carrying on for years with her husband's brother who, in turn, keeps a local Mexican sweetie in town.
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Ford, Robinson, and Keith are totally at ease in their roles, with Robinson especially arresting as a man who has been crippled in a gunfight but is still determined to do what he set out to achieve. As his wife, Barbara Stanwyck is fine, though her dialogue seems less naturally written than the men's and she sounds as if the elocution lessons have paid off. If she seems a bit "stagey," one comes to realize that that is perhaps appropriate to the character as it is revealed. Dianne Foster is the feisty Wilkerson daughter who catches Parrish's eye, and the rather sudden ending seems to hint at a future for them. All in all, a good movie and an unexpected pleasure.
Ford is John Parrish, a former Cavalry captain who is itching to get married and start a new life... His fiancée Caroline Vail (May Wynn) is desperate to move east, and to see him selling his spread to Lee Wilkison (Edward G. Robinson).
Parrish is not even much of a cattleman... but he do understand that there is something big building up in the valley... In the Army, they used to call it 'enemy pressure.' First, Cole Wilkison (Brian Keith) comes back from Texas to help his brother run Anchor... Then a tough kid with a fancy gun (Richard Jaeckel) shows up on the Wilkison payroll... Then all the small ranchers are forced out, getting the same kind of offers... Parrish saw himself either running like they did, or stand and fight...
But can he easily deals with a man who sends six killers to shoot an old man in the back? Can he easily argues with a man who started with a few acres of land and now owns practically the whole valley?
All that grass and sand ever meant to the ex-Confederate Army officer the past three years... It was a place to regain his health... Out of habit of taking advice, Parrish affirms: "What happen in this valley is no concern of mine." And much to the disappointment of the remaining ranchers and farmers, who pressure him to stay on, he decides to accept Wilkison's offer to fulfill the promise he made to his fiancée...
When Lee's younger brother Cole made the wrong move, trying to push Parrish make up his mind by lynching one of his ranch hands, Parrish got mad and warns the two brothers that he is going to stay and will fight them for the privilege of being let alone...
Brian Keith plays the traitorous brother who's behind the killing... He dreams to have position and respect in running one day Anchor...
Lee's ambitious wife Martha (Barbara Stanwyck) secretly hates herself and her husband... Stanwyck plays the part of a loving wife who can't bear the touch of her husband's hands...
Edward G. Robinson is good enough as the Anchor's crippled owner who promised the whole valley to his wife, unaware that she is having an affair with his younger brother...
Dianne Foster is too sensitive as the unsociable adult daughter well aware of her mother's burdens...
"The Violent Men" uses the wide-screen technology to emphasize the scope and power of this harrowing action-drama, making it a perfect example of the genre's most enduring classics...