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A Lawless Street (1955)

Approved | | Western | 15 December 1955 (USA)
A Marshal must face unpleasant facts about his past when he attempts to run a criminal gang out of town.

Director:

Joseph H. Lewis

Writers:

Kenneth Gamet (screenplay), Brad Ward (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Randolph Scott ... Marshal Calem Ware
Angela Lansbury ... Tally Dickenson
Warner Anderson ... Hamer Thorne
Jean Parker ... Cora Dean
Wallace Ford ... Dr. Amos Wynn
John Emery ... Cody Clark
James Bell ... Asaph Dean
Ruth Donnelly ... Molly Higgins
Michael Pate ... Harley Baskam
Don Megowan ... Dooley Brion
Jeanette Nolan ... Mrs. Dingo Brion
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Storyline

The marshal of Medicine Bend is tired and alone. Tired of killing to keep himself from being killed; alone because of an unspoken past disappointment. The realisation that someone in town is paying to have him killed and the arrival with a show troupe of the special someone from the past coincide to force more than one type of showdown. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Only the brave or crazy cross the lawless street ... or the Marshall of Medicine Bend ! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

15 December 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Marshal of Medicine Bend See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

The $100 dollars in gold that Dingo's brother throws away represented for many a year's salary. It's unlikely that he would have done so, even if he was ashamed of its origin because it is probable that he never would have seen that money in once place in his entire lifetime. See more »

Quotes

Marshal Calem Ware: Men, Cody Clark is buying drinks. He won all bets.
Cody Clark: That's right. Drinks are on the house...and everybody is welcomed!
Marshal Calem Ware: You can also take up a collection for burying Dingo. Add this
[money]
Marshal Calem Ware: to it.
Cody Clark: That's right nice of you Calem. Funny how a man softens to another when once he's killed him.
Marshal Calem Ware: I don't know about that. I'd do as much if it were your funeral.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in In Darkest Hollywood: Cinema and Apartheid (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

More Routine than Anything Else
23 May 2004 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

The story is simplicity itself. Scott is the marshall keeping the town (referred to several times as a wild beast) peaceful despite the efforts of two corrupt businessmen to take it over and run it on their terms. They hire a gunman (Pate) to come in and knock off Scott. At about the same time Scott's showgirl wife (Lansbury) shows up. They've separated because she doesn't want him using guns to earn a living. Or something like that. (Where have we seen this before?) Pate shoots Scott, who recovers later and shoots Pate. The businessmen are subdued by the rest of the townspeople who have come to their senses and acquired ethics. Scott hands over his badge because the beast has been tamed and the town no longer needs his kind of marshall. He rides off into the sunset with his wife and a carriage full of luggage and mulligan stew. The end.

Angela Lansbury is a first-rate actress. She wows the audience in pieces as different as "The Manchurian Candidate," "Death on the Nile," and "Sweeney Todd" on Broadway. But she's given practically nothing to do here. Warner Anderson's acting is flat and matter-of-fact but he's okay. The other villainous businessmen are less than interesting, which is too bad because movies like this depend as much on the character of their heavies as they do on the star. Wally Ford is in the Thomas Mitchell/ Edgar Buchanan part. The movie's score blossoms during the overture to Lansbury's stage appearance. Elsewhere the score is overblown and sounds hastily assembled with comic notes where none are called for.

The second half of the movie deteriorates. I cannot imagine why the rich ranchers and the rest of the townspeople (the wild beasts) have a sudden and entirely unmotivated change of heart and rally to Scott's side. Also, Scott gets to beat hell out of a human being the size of Man Mountain Dean, without using a gun. The two men have a lengthy and brutal fistfight and wind up with their shirts torn to shreds but not a drop of blood is spilled. But the first third of the movie gives Scott some scenes and dialogue that are outstanding for him, considering his usual persona. He shoots a man in self defense and is, if not ashamed of having done it, at least remorseful. The victim's widow has some sensible and believable lines too, and not favorable to Scott. Scott doesn't go on about his sadness -- he never goes on about anything. But we can sense the writers and the director giving him a chance to play something more than a heroic marble statue. It would have been nice had the rest of the movie been so played.


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