Saddle the Wind (1958) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
26 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Loose cannon gets the method treatment.
Spikeopath25 June 2009
Steve Sinclair is an ex gunfighter now contented with his lot as a peaceful farmer. Peace that is disrupted when his young brother Tony turns up with his intended new bride in tow. Tony has a thirst for gun play, and when he guns down a fellow gunman in the bar, things start to rapidly spiral out of control for the Sinclair family.

Saddle The Wind has some top credentials coming with it. Written by one Rod Serling, and starring Robert Taylor and John Cassavetes as the Sinclair brothers, it's a film not short on quality. Into the mix is the splendid outdoor location work at Rosita, Colorado (courtesy of the prolific George J. Folsey) and the genre compliant score from Elmer Bernstein. But what of the film itself? Well the story is an over familiar one, gunfighter trying to leave his bad past behind, loose cannon youngster out to make a name for himself, and yes we get a female love interest causing conflict and confusion (Julie London in a stock and undemanding role). Yet familiarity definitely does not breed contempt in this instance.

If new comers to this film are aware of John Cassavetes and his style of acting, then, in spite of the oddity of seeing him in Western surroundings, one can reasonably know what to expect. Cassavetes brings the method to young Tony Sinclair, instilling intensity, even borderline mania in the upstart hot shot, so much so that Robert Taylor's fine world weary turn as Steve gets lost until the finale. To non Cassavetes fans it may be just too much to handle, but speaking personally I found it a terrific performance that lifted the picture way above average. Support comes in the solid form of Donald Crisp and Royal Dano and the running time of under 90 minutes is just about right. Finally, it's with the ending that Saddle The Wind breaks away from its standard story and plotting. Played out on a lush blue flowered hillside, the makers deviate from the expected and give us something memorable and totally fitting to this method driven Western. 7.5/10
36 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Taylor's troubled sibling
bkoganbing21 November 2005
As he got older Robert Taylor got cast in more and more westerns as did so many of his contemporary stars. His first western was in 1941 as Billy the Kid and had Taylor had his way, he would have done a lot more of them sooner. He lived on a ranch in his later years with his second wife Ursula Thiess and their kids and he definitely looked home on the range.

He plays an older and wiser gunfighter like Gregory Peck's character of the film of the same name who would like to settle down and with the help of Donald Crisp, the big cattle ranch owner in the valley where Taylor owns his spread, he's trying to make an honest living.

The problem is that Taylor has a younger brother, a wild kid played by John Cassavetes, who wants to emulate his brother or at least the older version of his brother. And he causes a great deal of problems before the end of the film.

Cassavetes has an interesting part. He could have played it just like Skip Homeier did in The Gunfighter, a punk without any redeeming qualities. But he has to convey enough of a sense of decency so that we understand why Taylor just won't give up on him. I think he succeeds admirably.

The most interesting best of the supporting roles belongs to Royal Dano. He's a bitter, troubled man himself. His father owned a strip of land and abandoned it 20 years ago. Dano moves back on it and tries to assert his rights. In a situation that could probably be worked out either by men of good will or an honest court, neither is available. The result is tragedy all around. I think that this was probably Dano's best screen performance.

Taylor and Cassavetes offer an interesting contrast between a studio personality who learned to become a good actor and a New York based method actor. But that's not the only reason one should see Saddle the Wind. A good, but very grim western is the reason.
35 out of 39 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Modestly effective, humorless Western drama...
Nazi_Fighter_David21 January 2001
"Saddle the Wind" is the first of two 1958 Westerns in which Taylor plays a reformed outlaw... He is cast opposite a promising newcomer John Cassavetes... The sexy and flamboyant Julie London provides the love interest but her role is poorly defined and almost working from outside the plot...

Robert Taylor is a personality on screen rather than an actor... He plays here an ex-gunfighter who has reformed and is living and working on his ranch peacefully... But fate will not allow him to retire... Cassavetes, his wild young unstable brother shows up carrying a six-gun, and with a sexy dance-hall singer London...

Cassavetes' intensity did add excitement to the show... He shoots down a tough character and with his killer instinct now waked up, he attacks a group of homesteaders led by Royal Dano and sets fire to their belongings... This battle has much more cinematic electricity than the final confrontation between the two brothers...

Strong landowner (Donald Crisp) imposes himself at this point, and asks the two brothers, now troublemakers, to leave the country...

Shortly after that time, Cassavetes gets into a wild and confused struggle with Crisp's men and is wounded, but manages to escape... Taylor goes out to get him...

With some magnificent Colorado Rockies scenery caught effectively by George Folsey's CinemaScope and Technicolor photography, "Saddle the Wind" is modestly effective, humorless Western drama...
33 out of 45 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"Mister Deneen Don't Appreciate Gunplay"
stryker-526 November 1999
The Sinclairs and the Deneens are two ranching families who share the open range in their remote western valley. Steve Sinclair is a fine, strong man who has put his gunslinging days behind him and is now a figure of rectitude and stability in the affairs of the valley. His younger brother Tony, however, is a hothead who is beginning to regard himself as a handy guy with a six-gun.

Robert Taylor plays Steve with manly, tight-lipped stoicism, contrasting markedly with John Cassavetes' Tony, a jumpy dynamo of attention-seeking energy. This thoughtful MGM western sets up a whole web of conflicts and tensions: there is the inevitable clash between the two brothers, the uneasy modus vivendi with Old Man Deneen, friction between ranchers and homesteaders, as the latter try to settle on the free range. When Tony returns from a trip to the city bringing with him the beautiful Joan (Julie London) as his bride-to-be, yet another source of conflict arises.

"Steve's gonna like you," Tony tells his new fiancee with unconscious irony, not knowing that it is Steve and Joan who will fall for each other. The romantic closeness between the saloon girl and the older man is never made explicit, but it is plain that they are destined to be a couple. The psychology of this tentative relationship is sensitively portrayed, for instance in the scene where Joan remarks, "I've seen reformed gunmen before." Steve reacts with a mixture of shame and hurt which tells us that he desires her good opinion.

Prefiguration is a stylistic leitmotif running through the film. Larry Venables refuses to have his saloon table cleared, and then later Tony prevents Manuelo from clearing another table. Deneen's young son was killed in a futile gunfight, an event which has impacted on the life of the whole valley, and we see the tragedy re-enacted as other men lose their lives needlessly. Tony and Dallas act out a playful 'mock' draw on the exact spot where Ellason is later gunned down.

A good deal of the film's psychological import is conveyed, not in dialogue, but through visual communication. Joan's reaction when Venables makes trouble in the saloon suggests that she knows the bad guy but is trying to conceal the fact. After the shooting, we see Tony fail the 'test', though nothing is ever said directly. Joan wants to be taken home, and Tony's immature decision to stay drinking with the boys signals the breaking-point of the relationship. Joan moves away from the group and sits alone. The ploughshare which is used for shooting practice symbolises the threat posed to wholesome farming life by irresponsible gunmen. Tony places his arm on Steve's shoulder, and Steve dislodges it with the subtlest of movements, showing the rift that is growing between the brothers, but which neither wishes to acknowledge. In the very next image, Hank tries to take the whiskey bottle away from Tony, but Tony clings to it, his pattern of destructive self-indulgence now well established. Once Deneen (the marvellous Donald Crisp) has decided to choke the range with wire fences, we see bales of barbed wire thrown down onto the ground with force. They glint harshly, their steely newness a hostile presence, harming the soil. When the brothers finally meet, we see each of them silently preparing his gun.

The scene in which Steve and Joan ride back from town is nicely done, with its change of tempo from hard anger to a quieter, more reflective mood. Steve shows himself to be a man of complex emotions beneath his stern facade.

The film is shot in Cinemascope and MGM's own colour process, Metrocolor. In the first scene, Venables menaces the bartenders in the saloon, a drab brown man in a drab brown setting. This is this creature's element. A very striking effect is achieved as the scene changes and we see the open range, the beautiful sunlit countryside contrasting powerfully with what has gone before. By the end of the film, the sage is in bloom, and the image of the young man dying on a brilliant purple carpet of natural luxuriance is almost unbearably poignant.

Elmer Bernstein was the Musical Director, and in his characteristically understated style he did his usual excellent job. By 1958 it was beginning to be ambarrassing for audiences to see a character breaking into song, but the restrained guitar accompaniment as Julie London croons the theme tune salvages this one from seeming too obtrusive.

Everybody is looking for his place in the world. Deneen dreams of establishing a paradise where violence is unknown, and Steve is striving to be a good rancher and to live down his past. Tony wants to make a name for himself, while Joan is hoping to escape the squalor of her earlier years. Venables wants the kudos of having killed Steve Sinclair, and Ellason is yearning for the homestead of his dreams. Some achieve their persoanl nirvana, but most don't. The film's message is that violence and confrontation don't move anybody forward in life.
20 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Two reasons this Western rises above formula.
Irie21217 September 2009
The plot is straightforward and the milieu is entirely familiar-- open range vs. fenced farming, reformed gunslinger vs. trigger-happy kid, lots of grizzled guys and leather vests, a pointless saloon girl-- but it has enough originality and a solid enough script to transcend formula. It also has two crucial bonuses:

First, the location. There's only one long shot showing the entire Western town, but I've never seen a more decrepit or believable one- - because it's a real one. Rosita, Colorado, west of Pueblo, was well on its way to becoming a ghost town in the late 1950s (it actually is one now, in the middle of exurbs). It had only three or four wooden buildings, plus a few scattered homesteads between them and the mountains. It delivers total verisimilitude. Quite a few scenes are shot in the wilderness, too, with meadows bursting with purple wildflowers. A real Western settlement in a gorgeous wilderness-- it is iconic, far more than John Ford's Monument Valley, which is unrepresentative of any other Western landscape.

Second, the supporting cast. The faces are all more familiar than the names. Royal Dano and Irene Tedrow as squatters, Charles McGraw, Ray Teal (Bonanza's sheriff), Douglas Spencer, and as barkeeps, the wonderful Stanley Adams (Cyrano Jones, tribble salesman) and the forever-unheralded Jay Adler (Stella's brother). Adler's worth his weight in silver-- Rosita was a silver-mining settlement-- and he's in the first scene so catch that at least.

The reason that mother lode of character actors matters is because-- along with always-fine Donald Crisp and better-with-age Robert Taylor-- they carry this movie. The relative novices involved-- writer Rod Serling, actress/singer Julie London, and fish-out-of-water John Cassevetes -- handle their duties well enough. But they just can't measure up to that roster of seasoned pros, a cast that has been in so many Westerns, they feel as authentic as Rosita.
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hollywood vs. New York in the Wild West
judithh-114 September 2013
Saddle the Wind is the result of a creative conflict between golden era Hollywood and the cool method acting world of New York in the late 1950's. Both the writer, Rod Serling (of Twilight Zone fame) and John Cassavetes represented the new, "cool" world of New York. Robert Taylor, holder of the record for the longest employment by one studio) represented Hollywood with a capital "H." The director, Robert Parrish, was more on the New York wavelength.

From what I've read, Cassavetes tried to antagonize Taylor with his difficult behavior and, when he failed, got even more outrageous. The New York crew regarded Taylor as incredibly "square." The result of all this is a fascinating conflict of styles. Taylor prided himself on not "mugging" and here his reserved style worked well as Cassavetes' older brother, a retired gunman. The pain of a man watching someone he brought up as son, not a younger brother, turn into an unstable, erratic killer is evident on Taylor's craggy face. The younger brother is in constant motion--he seems to mistake activity for accomplishment.

Through a number of plot twists including disputed land ownership, romance (with Julie London) and brother-to-brother conflict, the film moves quickly and stylishly towards its inevitable end. The photography is excellent, making the best of the glorious scenery. Julie London is underused but does what she can.

In the end, New York and Hollywood work well together to make a highly watchable film. Review by me for the IMDb.
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
troubled teen western
RanchoTuVu14 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Saddle the Wind tells the story of Tony Sinclair (John Cassavetes), the troubled younger brother of Steve Sinclair (Robert Taylor) who both share ownership of a cattle ranch. They make for an interesting pair, the caricatured, out of control and insecure kid vs his mature, older, wiser, and better with a gun brother. What's more interesting, but isn't really developed very well, is the emerging situation between Taylor and Julie London, who plays Cassavetes somewhat reluctant fiancée that he brings home after a night of carousing. Charles McGraw has an interesting if abbreviated role as the well known gunfighter Larry Venables, who comes into town hunting for Steve (Taylor) but has to deal with Tony (Cassavetes). Purely by luck, Tony kills the far better Venables and now really believes he's a gunfighter. Not only did he kill one of the fastest gunmen around, but he defended his brother as well. He's a kid playing a man's game, and his actions get more out of control, leading to an inevitable showdown with his brother. Putting a juvenile delinquent in a Technicolor western wasn't unknown in the fifties, but Cassavetes is definitely more at home in Brooklyn than Wyoming.
18 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Dramatic and enjoyable Western with very good main and secondary cast , being well shot by Robert Parrish
ma-cortes8 October 2015
Highly watchable Western based on a story by Thomas Thompson with screenplay by the prestigious Rod Serling ; dealing with confrontation between family members and about fights between cattlemen and homesteaders . The picture gets action Western , shootouts , wonderful outdoors and turns out to be quite entertaining with amazing visual style . This interesting movie is set in post-Civil War ; it features Steve Sinclair (Robert Taylor) , a world a world-weary , prior gunfighter , now living as a peaceful farmer , his wild younger brother Tony (John Cassavetes) , and a previous dance hall girl , Joan Blake , (Julie London) , masquerading as a lady . Tony meets the cabaret girl Joan and impulsively to marry her , returning to run the family ranch . Then , things go awry when Tony arrives on the scene with his new bride Joan Blake . Everyone there is enchanted with Joan ; however , when some settlers (Royal Dano) appear , events go wrong .

Agreeable Western packs drama about sibling squabbles , thrills , shootouts , go riding and some moving action sequences . It's a medium budget film with good actors , technicians , production values and pleasing results . In this case family feuds make for a really thrilling film , as it contains a thoughtful and thought-provoking script regarding to the ranch scenarios , adding ranchers confrontations , joining Western with melodrama . As well as making full of sense , intense drama and intelligence . ¨Saddle the wind¨ was hardly received its fair due and panned by some critics , as Western genre being past their peak of popularity . And the final is poignantly as well as dynamically unexpected , including an exciting duel . Good performances from Robert Taylor as obstinate ex-gunslinger , this is the best movie of Taylor's later work ; John Cassavetes as reckless as well as nutty young brother who gives a mannered but intelligent acting and Julie London as his bride who bears a dark past . Julie London catches the eye carrying out an imaginative and gorgeous acting ; besides , playing an attractive song . Large plethora of secondaries , such as Charles McGraw , Royal Dano , Richard Erdman , Ray Teal and special mention for Donald Crisp as old patriarch baron land . Colorful and glimmer cinematography by George J. Folsey , being magnificently illuminated in Cinemascope and Metrocolor , setting itself against the marvelous backdrop of the Colorado Rockies , actually filmed on location in Rosita , Colorado . Evocative as well as atmospheric musical score by the great Elmer Bernstein , along with a catching song at the beginning composed by Jay Livingstone . However , a first soundtrack was written and recorded by Jeff Alexander but had to be replaced due to extensive re-cutting .

The motion picture was professionally directed in sure visual eye by Robert Parrish providing an abundance of noisy acting , color and stirring happenings . Among his best received works was this brooding western ¨Saddle the Wind¨ (1958) . He was an Academy Award-winning film editor who also realized and acted in movies . Parrish was soon working on some of Hollywood's most prestigious films, cementing his reputation as one of the America's premier editors . Unfortunately, while many of his directorial efforts were visually impressive ,especially his war drama , ¨The Purple Plain¨ , his labour as editor was excellent . As an editor he won an Academy Award for Body and soul (1947), the 1947 Robert Rossen film that starred John Garfield as a money-grubbing, two-timing boxer on the make . Parrish also worked on All the King's Men (1949), an account of the rise and fall of a Louisiana politician that won the Academy Award for Best Picture . Parrish then moved on to direct films during the 1950s and 1960s . He realized a variety films of all kind of genres , such as melodrama : ¨Fire down below¨ , comedy : ¨The Bobo¨ , parody : ¨Casino Royale¨ , a Noir film titled ¨Cry danger¨ , a Sci-Fi picture titled ¨Journey to the far side of the sun¨ , a thriller titled ¨The Marseille Contract¨ or ¨The Destructors¨ and another strange Western called ¨A town called Bastard¨. And of course , ¨Saddle the wind¨¨ resulted to be one of his best films .
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Method western with great performances by Robert Taylor and John Cassavetes!
mamalv15 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Robert Taylor turns in a understated performance as Steve Sinclair, a reformed gunfighter who only wants to build a ranch and be peaceful. John Cassavetes as Tony Sinclair, the younger brother is excellent as the confused, trigger happy malcontent. When Tony brings Julie London back to the ranch, and annonces that they are to be married, Steve finds it necessary to warn her that "this boy has problems". When Mr. Deneen, the man who runs the valley finds that Tony has killed a famous gunslinger, Charles McGraw, to save Steve from the confrontation, he warns Steve that if it happens one more time, they have to leave the valley. Mr. Deneen is played well by Donald Crisp, who has played a similar role many times before. In the end Steve must confront Tony after he shoots Deneen in an argument over open range. Tony turns the gun on himself to save Steve from killing him. All in all, this is a very good western, with beautiful scenery. Robert Taylor as the older brother is thoughtful, and conflicted about the fate of this young man, who it is clear to see, he loves. The script is intelligent, by Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame. He gets a wonderful performance from Taylor, and a young Cassavetes. Great western, with the quintessential cowboy, Robert Taylor.
14 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Saddle the Wind or Shoot the Puddle.
highclark10 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Robert Taylor as Steve Sinclair gets top billing in this film and John Cassavetes(Tony Sinclair) steals the picture from Robert Taylor, but the real star of the film is its chief writer, Rod Serling. Serling establishes at the beginning of the movie a town where the folk 'don't want any gun-play'. In the opening sequence, Larry Venables (Charles McGraw) comes into a bar demanding whiskey, eggs and a side of information on the whereabouts of Steve Sinclair. Though we don't know it at the time, Tony Sinclair killed Venables' brother. So now we see Venables berating the barkeep with insults and threats, throwing the watered down whiskey to the ground and letting everyone in the bar know, if he has to, he will wait for his moment of revenge in the bar. This really establishes the tone for the entire movie. Something bad is about to go down, even if that something bad means he(Venables) has to die in this bar for it to happen. The dialog in this opening scene is bright and snappy, not a word out of place.

Things really start to speed up when the younger Sinclair comes into the movie with Joan Blake(Julie London)in tow. Although he remarks to his 'soon to be' wife that, 'Steve's gonna love you', I doubt very much that he knew how true that statement would be. It's too bad, really because the young Sinclair has enough young man's angst/sexual energy to burn, as he spends his first moments with his girl at the new homestead actually away from his girl, shooting his gun at objects around the ranch trying to impress his older brother. At one defining moment of self loathing in the movie, the young Sinclair duels with his own reflection in a puddle.

Another intriguing character is that of Dennis Deneen(Donald Crisp). He seems to be the center of the movie; always defining a pacifist approach to the violence in his town, letting his cattle wander freely without any fences. Then later wanting to do the right thing for a Yankee squatter who was wronged by the younger Sinclair over a land claim, and finally giving the moral high ground to his surrogate son, the elder Sinclair, ultimately forgiving him when the elder Sinclair couldn't attain his same high morality. Serling establishes a character who is as adverse to gun-play as he is to putting up fences around his property.

The song that Julie London sings is very good.

Cassavetes, Crisp, London and Taylor give solid performances. 9/10.

Clark Richards
14 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Excellent Western
gordonl565 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers

I finally got around to this 1958 western headlined by Robert Taylor, John Cassavetes and Julie London. The film is sort of a psychological Western written by the great Rod Serling. It was helmed by director Robert Parrish with help from an uncredited John Sturges.

Robert Taylor is an ex gunfighter who owns a ranch in a high mountain valley. The man had worked for the main land owner in the valley, Donald Crisp for years. Crisp, in sort of a mentor role, had softened Taylor's hard edges and turned him into a solid citizen. Crisp had even given Taylor a piece of land to start his own cattle ranch.

Of course there needs to be something to upset this pleasant image. And that is Taylor's younger brother, John Cassavetes. Cassavetes is a wild rather unstable lad who does not like living in the shadow of his popular brother.

Cassavetes, just back from a supply buying run to the big city, arrives back at the ranch with his pretty bride to be, Julie London. London, a former dance hall singer, believes that Cassavetes might be her ticket to the good life. Taylor sees London as a gold digger and tries to send her back.

The kid brother has shall we say, developed an itchy trigger finger. Taylor knows full well how such a liking for the gun will end. He tries repeatedly to get his younger brother to relax. London soon clues in on the fact that Cassavetes is really jealous of Taylor, and is a rat at heart.

Cassavetes, Taylor, London and a few of the boys ride into what passes for the local one horse town. It is the small general store, bar and livery stable type burg. Cassavetes hits the bar for a few. Soon a famous gunman, Charles McGraw, enters. McGraw is looking for Taylor. Taylor shot his brother in a gunfight some years before and McGraw has finally tracked him to the valley.

Cassavetes calls McGraw out not knowing just how good McGraw is. It is only through a bit of luck and McGraw being distracted at the right moment that Cassavetes emerges the victor.

Needless to say this gives Cassavetes a swelled head. This leads to more idiot behaviour from the kid. He soon kills again and finds he likes it. His actions literally start what could end in a range war, when he shoots the leader of a group of squatters, Royal Dano. He then really stokes the fire when he shoots and badly wounds, Donald Crisp. Taylor of course has to settle the issue, brother or no brother. A somewhat grim, but very well-crafted film with an ending I was not expecting.

The rest of the cast includes Ray Teal, who seemed to be in every second western, Doug Spencer, Jay Adler and Stanley Andrews. London is very under used here but she does manage to get in a song. The film was shot on location in Colorado which adds a nice look to the production.

Director Parrish is well known to fans of film noir as the helmsman on CRY DANGER and THE MOB. He also handled the reins on the top Robert Mitchum western, THE WONDERFUL COUNTRY.

Veteran cinematographer George Folsey is at the controls as the director of photography. The 11 time Oscar nominated Folsey's work includes. MEET ME IN ST LOUIS, ADAM'S RIB, MALAYA, THE BIG HANGOVER, VENGEANCE VALLEY, ALL THE BROTHER WERE VALIANT, EXCECUTIVE SUITE, THE COBWEB and HOUSE OF NUMBERS.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Saddle Yourself
Richie-67-4858522 August 2017
This is the classic Western as it is just one of the millions of different stories of the old West but similar to all of them. You get a glimpse of the lifestyles, the risks and the rewards and yes the law was settled by gun-play until it was not. This Western has it all. Gunfights, horses, cattle, bar, whiskey, a love interest with a backstory and of course heroes and villain. Great emotional scenes that just push and pull on you too making it a must see for the viewer so you can be entertained. All the actors are at the top of their game too. Scenery is beautiful and one can easily imagine how pleasant it was to live this simple and rewarding life as the seasons changed. Nice song in the opening credits and later on too. Listen to the words for they are well chosen. Nice ending with good closure. Recommend a dinner meal with tasty drink followed by a good snack for the maximum viewing enjoyment. Saddle up, mount up, ride and then call it a night...
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Excellent, subversive Western.
the red duchess31 October 2000
In the 1950s, the best way to attack an intolerably conformist society was to take a harmless 'popular' genre and subvert it, overturn its assumptions. Sirk did it with the woman's picture, Minnelli with the musical, Hitchcock with the thriller; Robert Parrish does it here with the Western, with a vision of Eisenhower family-values capitalist America as a medieval feudality, where everyone must pay obeisance to a landowner, where the stable family unit consists of a killer and a wild sexual neurotic, and where capitalism is actually destructive to the family and continuity, a sterile thing.

Whether John Cassavetes is an embodiment of the Western hero gone wrong, the pressure of capitalism turned in on itself, or a rebel without a cause, the film is full of powerful incident - Cassavetes' first insane shooting spree, which he ends by shooting his own puddled reflection; the drunken attack by Cassavetes and friend on a family of homesteaders, uncomfortably reversing the old attacking-Indians routine; the Leonesque showdown between Cassavetes and Ellison backed by his own brother. Very much a post-'Searchers' Western, land here is synonymous with spilt blood not destiny.
16 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A quality non-stereotypical western with good performances.
Tthomaskyte27 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
What makes this western "special," is that it appears to follow the traditional lines of the genre: reformed gunfighter tries to deter his wild, younger brother from following in his path. Younger brother's fiancée attracted to elder brother: Local area dominated by powerful cattle baron. It diverts from the norm however by the reformed gunfighter refusing to revert to his violent ways, even under extreme provocation, the attraction between the fiancée and the elder brother remaining obvious but unspoken and most notably, by the the powerful cattle baron being entirely non-stereotypical. This one,is dignified and committed to non- violence and fair-mindedness. If that makes it sound like a boring western, it isn't. The acting, script and direction are first class and make it one of the better westerns of that generation.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Just Another Kid Brother Or Friend Full Of Hubris Western ...
wgie27 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I am of the belief that "Saddle The Wind" (1958)can be pretty much summed up when Robert Taylor (Steve Sinclair) takes a gun away from his brother John Cassavates (Tony Sinclair)after he kills a man and says, "The use of it ... you got from me .... but where did you get the love it?" How many times have we seen the older reformed gunfighter take away a gun from his gun crazy kid brother who just happens to be full of hubris? We have seen this pedestrian western plot time and time again. Sometimes it is reworked, and the kid brother full of hubris may be changed to a son full of hubris or a friend full of hubris but regardless of whether they be kid brother, son, friend or any other concocted character, it is the "hubris" that leads to their untimely demise which is usually delivered by the reluctant reformed gunfighter. Examples of these re-occurring reformed gunfighters and kid brother type of characters show up in films such as "Vengeance Valley" (1951)starring Burt Lancaster (Own Daybright/fast gun) Robert Wagner (Lee Strobie/friend with hubris), "Man Without A Star" (1955) starring Kirk Douglas (Dempsey Rae/fast gun)and William Campbell (Jeff Jimson/friend with hubris), "Gunman's Walk" (1958)starring Van Heflin (Lee Hackett/fast gun father)and Tab Hunter (Ed Hackett/son full of hubris). What I find most astonishing about these usually entertaining pedestrian western with similar plots is they always seen to work and entertain time and time again. Rod Serling wrote this one and the dialog is everything a western movie fan could ask for!
8 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
pretty good western
KyleFurr23 December 2005
The only western written by Rod Serling and has a cast that includes Robert Taylor, John Cassavetes and Donald Crisp. Taylor and Cassavetes are brothers who live on Crisp's land and Cassavetes brings home a wife, played by Julie London, and everyone is surprised Cassavetes wants to get married. Taylor is a former gunfighter and when Cassavetes get a gun for the first time he winds up killing a man who was looking to kill Taylor. Cassavetes thinks he is top man around the ranch now and has an itchy trigger finger. Things get really bad when Royal Dano and his family move onto the land and want to put up a fence and things turn violent. It's a pretty good western that was written by Rod Serling.
9 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Clash of the acting schools
RoughneckPaycheck14 April 2011
This is worth a watch if you are a fan of the more adult-themed westerns of the 1950s. But whose bright idea was it to put Cassavetes in a movie like this? It's a helluva weird choice. His acting style is so different from that of his co-star Robert Taylor that the film barely holds together.

To his credit, Cassavetes shoots for veracity, for a naturalism that brings humanity to a character that could've easily become a cardboard cutout of a psycho. In some ways, he is elevating the worn out clichés of the script, bringing some real life to them. But other aspects of his performance are flat absurd. For example, he periodically attempts some sort of ridiculous "western" accent, then just as quickly he'll drop it; sometimes this happens within a single line of dialog. You can take the boy out of Brooklyn, but you can't take the Brooklyn out of the boy, and I never bought for an instant that he was a tough western ranch kid with lingering Confederate sympathies. And his mood swings, as he goes rapidly from giggling to brooding, are hyper and overdone.

Meanwhile, Taylor is all classic Hollywood "strong & silent type" understatement, bordering on wooden and inexpressive. Their scenes together are oil and water. It brought me out of the story, into awareness that I was watching two actors who shouldn't be sharing the stage together. Their aesthetics are just too different.

In the plus column, supporting character actor Royal Dano is amazing in this movie, utterly convincing as a squatter with lingering Civil War resentments and a legal claim on a piece of land that puts him in direct conflict with the area ranchers. There are some brutal, squirm-inducing, standout scenes where Cassavetes terrorizes Dano. These are really subversive in a way, as Cassavetes' character takes on a role usually reserved for Indians, nameless "Others" who are utterly inhuman and dispensable.

I was also pleasantly surprised at Julie London's performance. She has a few key scenes early in the film and does a fine job, but she's underutilized; her character is sketched quickly, then left underdeveloped as her story thread is largely dropped.

Overall, this could've been a lot better, but it holds some interest for those with a particular love for the sub-genre. And Cassavetes fans will find much to like about his performance, at least for curiosity's sake.
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Excellent actors specially Cassavetes, too much like a TV movie
tmwest25 June 2007
The method acting of the fifties has become very outdated, you have the feeling they are overacting. Considering this, it is great to see an actor like John Cassavetes giving such a "method" performance and coming out so well, Tony Sinclair seems like a very true character. Robert Taylor was a familiar face in westerns, but as he got older, he became more physically suited for the role. Here he is at his best. Julie London was more of a singer than an actress, but she is great as Joan, the woman who hangs on to a crazy Tony in a desperate attempt to change her life. The script, by Rod Serling is good, but something is missing. It is too much like a TV movie, it seems too short. With such good actors you expect something more substantial. It is nice to hear Julie singing "Saddle the Wind".
8 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Robert Taylor and John Cassavetes cast as brothers?!
MartinHafer5 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The casting in this film is mighty strange. The idea of John Cassavetes and Robert Taylor playing brothers just didn't seem right. Part of this was their styles of acting, part of it was because they looked nothing like each other and was they the difference in their ages was 18 years--old enough that perhaps Cassavetes would have been better cast as Taylor's son! But, as Taylor was a big-name actor, there was no way that MGM would cast the younger actor as his son.

The film begins with the younger brother (Cassavetes) coming home with a woman (Julie London). They are planning on marrying and oddly Taylor doesn't do a lot to make her feel welcome. Later, when Cassavetes and London go into town, a pivotal moment arrives. A gunslinger is looking for Taylor, as years before, Taylor had been a gunman but had retired. It seemed that this gunslinger (played menacingly by Charles McGraw) is looking for a fight--and Cassavetes is more than willing to oblige. When Cassavetes manages to beat the guy to the draw, it was a fluke...but now there was a HUGE change in him. Now Cassavetes was a strutting and obnoxious moron--intent on proving to everyone that he is now a big man! And, in the process, London has come to realize that he's not the man she'd hoped to marry.

A bit later, some squatters begin farming on land that everyone was assumed was going to stay open range. Taylor tries to get them to leave with no success. However, when Cassavetes and his no-good friend later come upon these same folks, because they were now drunk on alcohol and power, they bully these people and might have killed them had it not been for Taylor's return. In the process, it seems that the bond between brothers is broken--as Cassavetes is too ill-tempered and obnoxious to take Taylor's intervention as anything other than a grave insult. The pip-squeak little brother was not about to just accept this and the viewer KNOWS that a much more deadly showdown is brewing.

While many elements of the film are quite familiar (and reminiscent of such films as "Night Passage") and the casting was very strange, this was still a good and successful western. Most of it was because the script was well-written despite its clichés (in the west, there really were very, very few gunslingers, for example) and the acting very nice. Not a great film but one worth your time.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Tight and Tense
LeonLouisRicci20 September 2013
A Sleeper that is one of the Better Westerns of the Fifties, an Excellent, slightly Off-Beat, and smartly Written and Directed Movie. There doesn't seem to be a bit of Filler or Padding in this sharply defined Picture. It also has an Ending that you won't see coming, although there is a Scene early on that is a foreshadow for those with a keen eye.

The strong Cast is only eclipsed by Rod Serling's scathing, minimalist, Dialog Driven Script that is snappy and tough. It has a Widescreen, Colorful backdrop with unusually Authentic looking Sets and a sprawling Landscape. This is one from that Decade that was so proliferated with Westerns and just about all of them were Interchangeable. But not this one. Along with likes of Boetticher and Mann, this one belongs.

If you need Name Dropping, aside from Serling, there is the fine, sometimes Cynical Director Robert Parrish, Pretty Songbird Julie London, Streetwise smoothie John Cassavetes as an Angst driven Hot-Head, Robert Taylor (never better), reliable Staff such as Donald Crisp, and Charles Mcgraw (with a great show starter Scene), and Roy Dano in a touching, heart wrenching significant Role.

A must for any Western Fan and for those who wander in the Genre looking for the Best.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
More Depth and authenticity than most westerns.
BobbyGuts24 September 2019
Robert Parrish never disappoints, The actors had no false moments, & I always appreciated Rod Serlings deep, morally-balanced stories (I wish He should've wrote more westerns).

One moment I can say was really special for me was when London sings to Casavettes (their chemistry right there was very organic within the confines of the story).

Other than that I cant say its an iconic piece of film making brilliance but different than most westerns that you've seen with the factors of it having well crafted cinematic qualities in the simplest form (as most Parrish movies do- he was great at simplifying).
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Wild wild is the wind....
dbdumonteil24 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A violent western which,in spite of a happy end -a bit artificial-, leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

John Cassavetes 's presence is strange and his playing is more modern than the rest of the cast;it is not easy to believe he is Robert Taylor's brother,but why not? Tony comes from a family that has a history of mental sickness:didn't he see his brother kill several men when he was at such an early age?As soon as Tony appears on the screen ,we know his fate is sealed ;the scene where he shoots at his reflection in the water is prophetic.If you pay some attention,you'll notice that Tony and his brother Steve are almost wearing the same clothes (see the scene with the Yankees and the final scenes where Robert Parrish substitutes close -up shots for his panoramic ones) Joan (Julie London who sings the eponymous lovely title track ) could be his salvation ,but this girl has always a racy past (not THAT girl! says Steve).She would like to pick up the pieces ,to start a brand new life in the country (in the westerns ,the town often means evil),but the first intimate scene between her and Tony proves it wrong: she says she loves his smile and she begins to sing his song ;but what follows is almost a rape attempt .

Tony is a violent rebel without a cause:as he was always refused love and compassion -and his scene with Joan proves he is incapable of giving tenderness and affection,the only way he knows to be a man is the gun.No matter if he shoots his brother's enemy or the intruders in the valley.

Tony has never grown up:his last words are touching.

NB: Julie London starred in another Parish movie "the wonderful country" .
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A well-made, well-acted, realistic and dramatic western.
gidge19 May 1999
This movie is a western of great merit. Although modest in length and budget and lacking big-star actors, it presents a dramatic and realistic picture of family relationships (between two brothers) in an authentic western setting. The screenplay and acting are outstanding. The dramatic conflict between two brothers who have gone different ways in life is very well depicted and the climactic scenes very well made. Overall, a modest but very enjoyable and satisfying movie.
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"A Good Die For A Man To Die."
zardoz-1322 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"Twilight Zone" writer Rod Serling tried his hand at writing a western with director Robert Parrish's "Saddle the Wind," an average but unexceptional oater with Robert Taylor, John Cassavetes, and Julie London. Mind you, Serling was one of the top writers in early television, but he seems about as lost in these wide open space as a stray calf with this hard-bitten, hackneyed oater about two brothers, with Taylor as the older and Cassavetes as the young brother, clashing about just everything that comes up. Steve Sinclair (Robert Taylor of "The Law and Jake Wade") had to raise his younger, impulsive brother Tony (John Cassavetes) because they had no parents. Tony turned out no good, and Steve has had to take care of his hot-headed sibling since then. Basically, this is a juvenile delinquent on a range scenario with little to recommend it beyond Cassavetes' spirited performance.

The action opens when Tony comes back to their spread, the Double S Ranch, after selling their herd at market. The surprise is that he has with him his fiancée, Joan Blake (Julie London of "Man of the West"), in a brand new buckboard. Steve explains to Joan that the Double S is no more ready for a female than Tony is a wife. Joan isn't the only thing that Tony has brought back. He has purchased a fancy six-shooter. Steve doesn't approve of Tony's 'tricked-out' revolver because the trigger has been honed "so fine you could sneeze it off." Tony feels committed to protect his older brother and starts practicing with his new revolver. Although Steve is a reformed ex-gunfighter, Tony doesn't think that Steve is fast enough to protect himself. Steve isn't impressed with Tony's fervor to protect him. Tony spends hours perfecting his draw. In one telling shot, he shoots his reflection in a pond.

In the ranch house alone with Steve, Joan tells him that she was the daughter of a hide hunter and has roamed every frontier town. She met Tony in a saloon where she sang songs, and he treated her with so much respect that she found him refreshing and his description of the valley and Double S such that she decided to accompany him back to the ranch. Steve informs Joan that he has been Tony's father and mother since his kid brother was four. Steve still cannot believe that Tony wants to get married. Just as Tony returned with Joan, Steve asked his top hand why he didn't dissuade Tony from bringing the woman back with him. The ranch hand delivers the best line in his response to Steve: "Looking after your brother is like poking hot butter in a wildcat's ear."

Meanwhile, a tough hand with a six-gun, Larry Venables (Charles McGraw of "The Narrow Margin"), wanders into the valley looking to kill Steve. Steve served as Deneen's trail boss for three years before he got the Double S Ranch. Dennis Deneen (Donald Crisp of "The Sea Hawk") owns the rest of the valley, but Deneen gave Steve a third of his precious valley to raise cattle. Indeed, Deneen is the law in the valley, though we never see any of his hired hands, except for his gruff foreman, Brick Larson (seasoned heavy Ray Teal of "Bonanza" as a good guy), who backs Deneen up at every turn.

Tony gets lucky one day in the saloon and kills Venables. Deneen is upset because he hates violence and wants Steve to run Tony out of the valley. Meantime, things aren't going so good between Joan and Tony because she doesn't like the way that Tony kisses her. The showdown comes when a former Union officer, Clay Ellison, Owner of Strip (character actor Royal Dano of "Moby Dick") arrives with his family to farm the land left to him. Steve warns Ellison to clear out, but Tony isn't as nice. Saddle tramp Dallas Hanson (Richard Erdman of "Objective, Burma") and Tony harass Ellison and his family and set a wagon on fire before Steve and Blake arrive to calm things down. Ellison takes his claim to Deneen. Again, Deneen is dead set against violence for no reason that we are ever given. He agrees to stand by Ellison despite his lack of love for barbed wire.

The following morning Deneen and Brick escort Ellison into town to buy his barbed wire. Tony is waiting with an itchy trigger finger, and he kills the shotgun wielding Ellison. Ellison's death doesn't reduce Deneen's resolution to see not only Ellison's land fenced off but also his own land fenced off. He warns the storekeeper not to sell anything to Steve. Steve decides to hang it up and give his ranch back to Deneen. Predictably, Tony is furious, rides out, and confronts Deneen. They have some brief words and Tony shoots him, but Deneen wounds Tony. Brick rides over to Steve's ranch and lets him deal with Tony. Steve and Tony pull their six-guns on each other in the high country.

The end to "Saddle the Wind" is pretty depressing and there is nothing in Tony's character to explain his mysterious decision. Steve rides back, checks up on Deneen and decides to settle down with Joan at his side. The uninspired Elmer Bernstein musical score doesn't heighten the tension and the theme is rather bland. Reportedly, John Sturges of "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" performed some polish up, post-production work, but nothing would have saved this western. The performances are strong, the scenery is rugged, but the clichés are intact. "Saddle the Wind" is pretty saddle sore stuff.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Average western
Wizard-829 July 2017
Probably the one factor about "Saddle the Wind" that may attract modern day viewers is the fact that it was scripted by Rod Serling. But since Serling wrote the screenplay from a story by another writer, there isn't much of anything that makes this particular western different from most other westerns of this period.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad western. The filmed in Colorado backdrop is very pretty and easy on the eye, the acting (particularly by John Cassavetes) is professional and convincing, and while there isn't a terrible amount of action, the movie remains all the way through fairly compelling and not boring.

On the other hand, the movie has some signs of production woes, particularly in the way of a significant number of shots being accomplished by (very unconvincing) rear projection. Also, the character played by Julie London has no real bearing on the story or other characters at all; it would take almost no effort to write this character out completely. And while the movie is not boring, it does move kind of slow at times, especially with the fact that you'll probably be a few steps ahead of the unfolding story at any point.

As I said in my summary line, the movie ends up being an average western. If you like westerns, you'll probably find this reasonably enjoyable despite its weaknesses. Though at the same time, it's unexceptional, which probably explains why it took a long time to be released on home video.
1 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed