But the story goes that during a preview of the film, the audience reaction was so negative to seeing Rock Hudson shot down like a dirty dog that Universal felt compelled to tack on a happy ending. The film was really supposed to end with him dying on the floor of the saloon telling his son played by Race Gentry not to follow in his footsteps. What was added on was a scene with wife Julie Adams and Gentry loading the wounded Rock on the back of a buckboard and after a bit of dialog they ride off in the sunset. So one western legend got scrapped to start the career of a movie legend. Only in Hollywood.
John McIntire has a nice dual performance as Hudson's circuit riding preacher father and as his uncle, a cattle rancher. It's not a bad film despite the obviously tacked on happy ending for Rock's fans. John Wesley Hardin probably would have liked how it came out. Episodic saga based on the autobiography of outlaw John Wesley Hardin , Rock Hudson , published after being released from jail in , having served seventeen years of twenty five year sentence. Hardin was an American , Old West outlaw , gunslinger and controversial folk icon. Hardin's life of crime begins with a murder in self-defense that scales into further bloodshed and flights from the law.
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It deals with the particular relation to his overly religious father , a stiff Pastor splendidly played by John MacIntire and his love for his step-sister , the attractive Mary Castle. Out of prison Hardin hopes to have his biography edited in order to rehabilitate his tarnished memories. Along the way Hardin falls for a saloon girl , Julie Adams , marries her, and they have a son , with whom he has strong arguments when he fears will follow in his violent footsteps.
Decent Western about a known gunfighter, this Hardin's story is unique because it was written by the man himself. The motion picture produced by William Alland was professionally directed by Raoul Walsh a great filmmaker who directed several films , many of them deemed classic movies. The real John Wesley was a sadistic and a ruthless murderer who killed at least 43 people. From an early age , he often got himself into trouble with the law.
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Pursued by lawmen for most of his life he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for murder in , in Huntsville jail. In Hardin and other convicts were stopped while attempting to steal guns from thr prison armory and he made several attemts to escape.
When he was sentenced he reclaimed to have killed 42 men but newspapers of the day attributed only 27 death to him. While in prison Hardin wrote a biased autobiography and studied law. During his prison term he was convict of another manslaughter for the early shooting an inmate and given two year sentence to be served concurrently with his unexpired 25 year sentence. He was released in In August ,Hardin was shot to death by John Selman, himself a notorious gunman and former outlaw. Selman was arrested for murder and stood trial , though he claimed self-defense.
Spikeopath 2 January Music is supervised by Joseph Gershenson and cinematography by Irving Glassberg.
Some Notes on Kansas Cowtown Police Officers and Gunfighters
Story is based around the life of outlaw John Wesley Hardin Hudson , itself adapted from his own memoirs. It finds Hardin released from jail and recounts his life outside of the law and his time on the run. It proclaims that Hardin was very much a victim of circumstance, his life spiralling out of control after killing a man in self defence.
OK, forget the proud boast from the makers that this is a true story, this is Hollywood and its best so take in the film as a piece of entertainment only. Where, in truth, it's rather good stuff for the Western fan to gorge on. A tacked on "happy ending" aside, this is mostly interesting narratively speaking, and as a production it is always easy on the eye.
Hardin's time on the run throws up a number of scenes to pump the adrenalin, letting some fine stunt work come to the fore in the process. Be it escaping from "Texas Rangers" laid traps, or well constructed horse races Hardin was a well renowned gambler , Raoul Walsh and his team work real hard to keep this out of B movie territory. Shot in vivid Technicolor out of Andy Jauregui and Janss Conejo ranches in California some exteriors also filmed at Vasquez Rocks , film always feels airy, something that's not exactly at one with what should be the claustrophobic feel of an outlaw constantly on the run and looking over his shoulder.
There's also a big ask of the audience to accept that Hardin is pretty much indestructible, which is OK once or twice, but more? However, the film is ultimately about entertainment and forgiving it its irritants is not hard to do. Character interactions always remain of interest, and cast are doing more than decent work. McIntire stands out in a dual role, Hudson is stoic and Adams beguiles with her beauty and sexuality.
This is one of the better productions for bringing the radiant Adams to the attention of red blooded lusters. A better pair of legs in Westerns there is not, and in one scene she induces wolf whistles and heart palpitations in equal measure. With prolific Western scorer Gershenson providing easy listening and photographer Glassberg keeping the colours rich, The Lawless Breed rounds out as a better than average viewing experience for the Western buff.
Many motion pictures work on two levels — the way they read and the way they look.
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This is especially true of B-movies in the s, when the studios would buy any old pulp screenplay and allocate a minimal budget with recycled sets and costumes, and yet turn over total creative control to a seasoned and professional director who used to be a big shot. This was the situation with virtually every Raoul Walsh picture from this period. He'd long since had his day, and his bosses gave him little more than turkey-material to shoot, and yet he continued to imbue every picture with the intensity and romanticism that had always been his hallmark.
It announces itself as the result of "new research", and just as they used to say in Police Squad, only the facts have been changed. Hardin's two love interests, the names of people he killed, the number of children he had, not to mention his general character are all completely made up. Writers William Alland and Bernard Gordon have essentially invented a fictional character and given him Hardin's name. But the point of this is not to tell it as it really happened — this is a classic Western after all.
The point is to give you a picture of the Old West and a typical Western hero as posterity has remembered them. And this is what makes it the sort of project Walsh would really get his teeth into. For Walsh, there was romance and nostalgia in the open plain. Look at how he begins the picture with rather confined shots of the town, with foreground business and buildings bordering the frame. Then when we cut to Hardin's childhood we are hit with the beauty of the wide open spaces.
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As opposed to the yellows and browns of your average Technicolor horse opera, this is an abundantly green West, and Walsh seems to have worked closely with cinematographer Irving Glassberg and art directors Bernard Herzbrun and Richard Riedel to bring this tone to the fore. Green here represents freedom, hope and the good life, and it either covers the screen or retreats to a distant corner as appropriate, even worked in as a reminder during indoor scenes, such as the tree outside the window when he visits Jane by night.
In his monochrome pictures Walsh would often use lighting to chart the hero's rise and fall They Died with their Boots on is a good example , and here he uses colour to the same effect. The bold greens give a warm and homely feel to Hardin's cherished dream of a farm, and whenever he drifts away from that dream we turn to stark off-whites. In the leading role Rock Hudson is a middling success. He's just too steady and self-assured to convince as the young, hot-headed outlaw.
On the other hand, he develops very well into the older and wiser Hardin, and as he would later show in Giant his forte seems to have been playing middle-aged. As is typical in a Walsh Western, the rest of the cast are an appropriately motley bunch, with no shortage of dusty faces and grizzly whiskers. Even though their performances aren't exactly outstanding, John McIntire hits the right notes in his dual role as Hardin's father and uncle, and Julie Adams is tough and unglamorous enough to portray both the saloon lass she starts out as and country wife she becomes.
Also worth a mention is a young Lee Van Cleef, in one of his numerous third-baddie-on-the-left appearances before he became a big star in Italy. Although Hugh O'Brien is ostensibly the leader of the Hanley clan, it's clear Van Cleef's menacing presence was being noticed, as he is given all the most threatening lines and bits of macho business.
Some Notes on Kansas Cowtown Police Officers and Gunfighters - Kansas Historical Society
There's no escaping the fact however that as written The Lawless Breed is a rather lacklustre affair. The dialogue throughout is either corny or simply dull. A set-piece like Hardin continuing to play cards after being given an hour to get out of town doesn't seem able to decide whether it is being played for tension or for laughs.
And yet there is a precious handful of moments which Walsh has been able to stage with pure and compelling visuals, such as the confrontation with the Hanleys on a windswept street or the ageing hero's bittersweet return to his home and family, and these are absolutely stunning. And such is Walsh's devotion to the feel of the picture even the most boring of scenes looks nice and fits in with the tone of the whole piece.