EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|TO THE LAST MAN (THE LAW OF VENGEANCE) (director: Henry Hathaway; screenwriter: Jack Cunningham/based on a story by Zane Grey; cinematographer: Ben Reynolds; editor: Jack Scott; cast: Randolph Scott (Lynn Hayden), Buster Crabbe (Bill Hayden), Noah Beery (Jed Colby), Esther Ralston (Ellen Colby), Gail Patrick (Ann Hayden Stanley), Egon Brecher (Mark Hayden), Muriel Kirkland (Molly Hayden), Shirley Temple (Mary Stanley), Fuzzy Knight (Jeff Morley), Jack La Rue (Jim Daggs), Barton MacLane (Neil Stanley), Jay Ward (Lynn as a child), Delmar Watson (Tad Stanley), Harlan Knight (Grandpa Chet Spelvin), Eugenie Besserer (Granny Spelvin); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harold Hurley; Foothill Video; 1933)|
|"Pretty darn-good B-western."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Henry Hathaway ("The Dark Corner"/"True
Grit"/"Niagara") directs this
pretty darn-good B-western. It's a Romeo and Juliet tale about two feudin' backcounty Kentucky
families. It's based
on a story by Zane Grey and is written by Jack Cunningham.
In 1865, at the end of the
Civil War, the foreign-born
Mark Hayden (Egon
Brecher) returns home to Kentucky after being a captain in the
Confederate army and vows to take his family west to get away from a
bitter feud with the rival Colby clan. At home, the widower Mark learns
his father-in-law (Harlan Knight) was killed by Jed Colby (Noah
Beery) while hunting with his son Lynn (Jay
Ward). Instead of going after Jed as his embittered mother-in-law (Eugenie
Besserer) insists is tradition in these parts, Mark
goes to the police. Jed is sent to prison for 15 years and plans his
revenge when released in 1881. Jed partners with dangerous prison mate Jim
(Jack La Rue) and tracks down patriarch Mark's ranch in
Grass Valley, Nevada. For a year Jed's gang rustles Mark's cattle and
nothing is done about it, as Mark bend's over backwards to avoid
another clan war.
An adult Lynn (Randolph Scott) leaves Kentucky to join his
father's ranch outfit, and while riding near Grass Valley meets wild
barefoot country girl Ellen Colby (Esther
Ralston), Jed's untamed daughter, and they fall in
love. When Jed kills Mark's other son Bill (Buster Crabbe), the
bereaved dad is goaded to take action by Bill's heartbroken widow (Muriel
Kirkland) and goes alone to fight Jed at his ranch. But Jed
gets the drop on him and kills him. This brings about a full-scale clan
war. The Hanley clan are led into a trap by the treacherous Daggs, who
dynamites the canyon without Jed's knowledge. The blast causes a
landslide and the only two survivors are a badly injured Lynn, who
manages to reach Ellen at her ranch and is hidden in the attic, and a
healthy sneering Daggs. The vile Daggs killed Jed and now comes
courting Ellen. The weak Lynn musters all his strength to knife to
death Daggs. It ends with Ellen and Lynn getting married, putting an
end to the clan feud as Lynn becomes the last man standing.
REVIEWED ON 4/16/2011 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ