Thursday, 22 September 2011

Another underrated movie

This is a screenshot from the 1956 film, "Tribute to a Bad Man". James Cagney plays an embittered rancher, Irene Papas plays his girlfriend (note: NOT mistress!). Cagney took the part after Spencer Tracy (who would have been awful in it in my opinion) started drinking and then going AWOL. Cagney - in my opinion - is at his best here, and it seems to me that he knew exactly what he was doing with the character. It is only available (sadly) in UK as a VHS, but it should be seen in widescreen because the photography is excellent - as is the score. This film is not usually listed as a "classic western" but I believe it is one of the best westerns ever made and, possibly, one of Cagney's best films. It is deeply moving in parts which is a testimony to the top quality acting and the direction (Robert Wise). What is it about? Love, loyalty, mercy and redemption. (I don't think Fr. Robert Barron could say better)

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