|TROOPER HOOK (director/writer: Charles Marcus Warren; screenwriters: Martin Berkeley/David Victor/Herbert Little Jr./story by Jack Schaefer; cinematographer: Ellsworth Fredericks; editor: Fred W. Berger; music: Gerald Fried; cast: Joel McCrea (Sergeant Clovis Hook), Barbara Stanwyck (Cora Sutliff,), Earl Holliman (Jeff Bennett), Edward Andrews (Charlie Travers), John Dehner (Fred Sutliff), Susan Kohner (Consuela, Senora Sandoval's Granddaughter), Royal Dano (Mr. Trude, Stage Driver), Celia Lovsky (Senora Sandoval), Stanley Adams (Heathcliff, the Windmill Salesman), Terry Lawrence (Quito), Rodolfo Acosta (Nanchez), Sheb Wooley (Cooter Brown), Richard Shannon (Trooper Ryan), Patrick O'Moore (Colonel Adam Weaver); Runtime: 81; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sol Baer Fielding; United Artists; 1957)|
not very convincing social conscience western, but
one that has its heart in the right place
to get a better take on the racial attitudes of
by Dennis Schwartz
very convincing social conscience western, but one
that has its heart in the right place to get a better
take on the racial attitudes of the period. The
topical drama hits a nerve with its
1950's viewers by dropping on them hot-button issues
of racism, rape, half-breeds and sexism. Director
Charles Marcus Warren ("Hellgate"/"Arrowhead"/"Seven
Angry Men") clumsily mishandles the action scenes and
the pic is too talky for long stretches.
Warning: spoiler in
the next paragraph.
A U.S. Cavalry platoon led
Clovis Hook (Joel McCrea) capture the renegade
chief Nanchez (Rodolfo Acosta) and his band of braves.
They also free his captured white woman wife, Cora Sutliff (Barbara
the little boy Quito (Terry Lawrence) she had with the
chief while kidnapped. The chief is escorted to
imprisonment in a fort, while mom refuses to be
separated from her half-breed son and clams up
enduring the insults from bigoted whites. But Hook
wins her over by showing her sympathy and respect.
Mother and son are then escorted in a stagecoach by
Hook to her hubby (John Dehner) of nine years. He lives alone in his remote San Miguel ranch, in
a small town near Tucson. But hubby refuses to accept
the half-breed boy as his own, and the marriage hits
rock bottom. The climax has the escaped Nanchez attack
the ranch to get back his son, and then getting into a
deadly gunfight with the rancher that has both men
slain. This contrived ending allows Cora to start life
anew with her son.
The atypical western is too
downbeat, talky and slow-moving to be entertaining,
but Stanwyck and McCrea are just fine and
it does a nice job of pressing its lead characters to
delve into any previously unexplored prejudices they
may have held.
Tex Ritter sings the title song throughout.
REVIEWED ON 10/3/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ