RKO perfectly matched director Nicholas Ray with the studio’s wild man star Robert Mitchum in a downbeat work that foresees the modern day, revisionist westerns of Martin Ritt and Sam Peckinpah to come in the 1960s. Mitchum’s Jeff is a rodeo rider broken by one-too many steers and over-reaching for the American Dream. He falls in with a young rancher (Arthur Kennedy) who has the two things Jeff could never grasp: a clod of earth and the love of a good wife (Susan Haywood). Yet the rodeo circuit’s fast money are also luring the couple. Jeff is sucked into the scheme, uncertain whether he is their manager, protector or threat to their modest happiness. —National Film and Sound Archive, Australia
Born in small-town Wisconsin in 1911, Nicholas Ray’s early experience with film came with some radio broadcasting in high school. He left the University of Chicago after a year, but made such an impression on his professor and writer Thorton Wilder that he was recommended for a scholarship with Frank Lloyd Wright, where he learned the importance of space and geography, not to mention his later love for CinemaScope. When political differences came between the seasoned architect and his young protégé, Ray left for New York and became immersed in the radical theater. He joined the Theater of Action and later the Group Theater, which is where he met his good friend Elia Kazan. Times were tough and money was tight, but Ray loved the bohemian lifestyle of the close-knit group and enjoyed one of the happiest times of his life. Anybody who met him always noted his intellect and amazing energy. During this period he, along with his fellow Theater Group members, was also active in Socialist/Communist… read more
Robert R. Parrish (born 4 January 1916, Columbus, Georgia – 4 December 1995, Southampton, New York) was an American actor, film editor, film director, and writer. He received an Academy Award for Film Editing for the 1947 film, Body and Soul.
Parrish was the son of factory cashier Gordon R. Parrish and Laura R. Parrish. In the mid-1920s, the family moved from Georgia to Los Angeles and Parrish and his sisters Beverly and Helen began obtaining work as actors soon thereafter. Parrish made his film debut in the 1927 Our Gang short Olympic Games. (Their mother, Laura R. Parrish, was an actress as well and appeared in a few films of the 1940s.) He appeared in the anti-war classic All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) and Charles Chaplin’s City Lights (1931), and in several films for John Ford.
Ford then enlisted him as an assistant editor in 1936 on Mary of Scotland, and as a sound editor on Young Mr Lincoln (1939). Parrish worked as an assistant editor and sound editor on… read more
Ho-hum rodeo drama that truly lacks the excitement of its subject matter. Mitchum basically plays Mitchum (usual) with a muted performance by the usually reliable Susan Hayward. Arthur Kennedy quite good until script's turning point. Cliched melodramatic coda sinks it. Well shot by Lee Garmes.
Flashes of Mitchum while watching Phoenix.
The Lusty Men and The True Story of Jesse James play as part of a 15-film Nicholas Ray retrospective at New York’s Film Forum on August 5th
The Lusty Men plays as part of a 15-film Nicholas Ray retrospective at New York’s Film Forum on August 5th. *** Homes for Strangers: The Cinema