Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Last Frontier (1955)

Dir: Anthony Mann
Sony DVD

Anthony Mann has made some great films over his career and I am particularly fond of his westerns. This one however had escaped my attention and after watching it I can see why. It's about three trappers (Victor Mature, James Whitmore, & Pat Hogan) that get caught in a skirmish between the military and the local "Indians". The Natives want to run any white men out (and who can blame them?) since the military's arrival. They take the three trappers furs, horses, and guns and send them on their way, but this raises the ire of Victor Mature who decides that they should sign on with the military as scouts so they can earn some of the money back that they lost. His two pals, particularly James Whitmore's Gus, aren't keen on the idea but go along anyway. As soon as the join, Mature becomes a childish wild card that lashes out at everyone, what did this moron expect? He gets caught up in a love triangle, there's a few battle sequences, the end. The main problem with the film is Victor Mature. He seems out of place every step of the way, from his look, his ever-present smile, and his cadence. It doesn't help that his character is never likable, ever. Whitmore is great and has some of the best moments in the film but hardly a reason to sit through the whole movie. A real disappointment but mainly because of Mann's previous track record.


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