Jim Slater's father (whom he never knew) died in the Apache ambush at Gila Valley, and Jim is searching for the one survivor, who supposedly went for help but disappeared with a lot of gold. In the process, he gets several people gunning for him, and he keeps meeting liberated woman Karyl Orton, who may be on a similar mission. Renewed Apache hostilities and an impending range war provide complications.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Backlash" is a conventional 1950s western, but it is sound and nice and has several merits. The director John Sturges (almost) never disappoints you. The entertaining story is a typical one by the great western-writer Borden Chase: plenty of twists of the plot, of surprises, of double-crossing, of complicated kinship relations between the many characters. The finale is rather original. The action scenes are very good: Sturges is a master of that. The cinematography is stunning: it renders with the full force of a glorious technicolor the wonderful beauty of the Arizona landscapes.
The job by the cast is first-rate. Richard Widmark is a great actor in every role: either as the good guy (here), or as the villain (in many other movies). John McIntire is excellent in his trade-mark role of the sneaky outlaw. But I was even more impressed by the depth of Donna Reed's talent. I remembered her as the paradigmatic loving spouse and mother in "It's a wonderful life". Here she's fully convincing in the role of the tough, cynical woman with a turbulent past. Donna seems even more beautiful and appealing in "Backlash" than in the Capra's movie (in fact she's really gorgeous). Is she so good to be able to improve her looks, depending on her role?
Predictably enough, "Backlash" oozes amiable cliches and naive flaws, which, however, almost increase the pleasure of us old western-movies-fans. First: what's the point of the title? No wips are seen along the movie. Widmark wrestles with an Apache sentry for some thirty seconds, without the Apache screaming to give the alarm to his companions. Where does Donna Reed keep the many beautiful dresses she wears? She travels on horse-back... And we have the usual geographical oddities of old classic westerns: the guys just cross a mountain and they pass from Arizona to Texas!
I like "Backlash" and I recommend it: see the movie, relax and have a good time.
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