Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Duel at Silver Creek review

The Duel at Silver Creek (1952)
Dir. Don Siegel
Starring: Audie Murphy, Stephen McNally, Faith Domergue, Susan Cabot, Lee Marvin
A group of claim jumpers are killing people and stealing their land. After killing the Silver Kid’s (Audie Murphy) father, he encounters a marshall named Lightning Tyronne (McNally) on the hunt for the same group.

It’s a simple story about a kid wanting revenge and a marshal on the hunt for the same people. The plot is a bit cliché, but it’s still enjoyable. There’s a lot of dialogue that sounds like it should be in a noir film, which makes sense you see that writer Gerald Drayson Adams spent most of the late forties/early fifties working on noirs. There is some good action scenes and some good comedic bits, and the movie moves at a quick pace. There are some moments that don’t seem to make sense when you apply logic to them, but at times the movie tends to lean towards camp, so it is a bit easy to look past it. With silly character names like The Silver Kid, Lightning Tyrone, Jane “Dusty” Fargo, Pop Muzik, Opal Lacy , Johnny Sombrero, Rat Face Blake, and Tinhorn Burgess, it can’t help but be anything but camp.

Audie Murphy is pretty well used in the film, with his boyish looks working for the young character. He has brings some charm and eagerness to the role of the Silver Kid.  Even though Murphy is first billed, Stephen McNally seems to be the real star of the movie, narrating and being the main focus of the film. He’s good in the role, but he’s mostly just a bland hero that gets lead astray by Opal Lacy (Domergue), who works with her brother running the local mining company, and who both aren’t what they appear to be. Susan Cabot is good as the tomboy (Dusty), who is crushing on the marshal at the start of the film. She is pretty proactive in the movie, standing up for herself and making her own decisions rather than simply being told what to do by the male characters, which was a bit refreshing until she gets captured and becomes the damsel in distress. The best thing about the movie is the character Johnny Sombrero, played by Eugene Inglesias. His name is mentioned by some characters, then the audience sees this:

Inglesias plays the role kind of wild and flamboyantly, giving the film a fun boost of energy the few scenes he has. The role is basically a red herring for Lightning to chase until he learns who the bad guys really are, but at least he’s giving it his all. I was surprised to see Lee Marvin show up in a small supporting role, playing a townsperson. I saw his name and expected to be in a villainous role, so this was a surprise to me.

Overall it’s perfectly fine middle of the road film. Other than Johnny Sombrero there’s nothing really bad or nothing really great about it. I might be worth checking out if you’re a big Lee Marvin fan to see him in one of his first roles. It’s worth watching if it’s easily available, but at the same time there are better movies to spend your time on.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah I would have expected Marvin to be plaing the heavy as well. Sounds like a lot of fun!
    My favorite Faith Domergue flick is the Mitchum vehicle "Where Danger Lives," but she also appeared in a number of movies that probably ended up on MST3K as well.