DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE LAWLESS (director: Joseph Losey; screenwriter: Daniel Mainwaring; cinematographer: Roy Hunt; editor: Howard Smith; music: Mahlon Merrick; cast: Macdonald Carey (Larry Wilder), Gail Russell (Sunny Garcia),  Lalo Rios (Paul Rodriguez), Maurice Jara (Lopo Chavez),  John Sands (Joe Ferguson),  Lee Patrick (Jim Dawson), John Hoyt (Ed Ferguson); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: R; producers: William H. Pine, William C. Thomas; Maverick Entertainment Group (Paramount); 1950)

"A realistic B-film liberal melodrama about the discrimination of Mexican-American farm workers in California."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A realistic B-film liberal melodrama about the discrimination of Mexican-American farm workers in California is directed with passion by Joseph Losey ("Steaming"/"Mr. Klein"/"King and Country"). Writer Daniel Mainwaring tells us of so-called ‘fruit tramps,’ migrants who live on the edge of poverty harvesting California’s various crops. They are hated by the local whites and subjected to physical abuse by intolerant white farmers. 

The social conscious drama, set in Santa Marta, California, is well-acted, fast-paced, and well-intentioned. The film works as a good example of a Hollywood film exploring real issues like racial intolerance and racial violence. It's most exciting scenes are of mob violence and a manhunt. The film helped get Losey blacklisted as a Communist for exposing prejudice in American society.

Macdonald Carey plays the crusading editor of a small-town California newspaper who takes up the fight for justice for the minority victims, along with a reporter (Gail Russell) from the Spanish weekly newspaper La Luz, after a traffic incident grows out-of-control between whites and Mexican-Americans. Lalo Rios is fine as the Mexican-American fruit worker, who is the middle of the jam.

REVIEWED ON 3/28/2016       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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