Film Review – BADMEN OF TOMBSTONE (1949)

Badmen of Tombstone (1949)BADMEN OF TOMBSTONE (USA, 1949) **½
      Distributor: Allied Artists Pictures (USA), Associated British Film Distributors (ABFD) (UK); Production Company: King Brothers Productions; Release Date: 22 January 1949 (USA), 31 October 1949 (UK); Running Time: 75m; Colour: B&W; Sound Mix: Mono (Western Electric Recording); Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Spherical; Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1; BBFC Cert: U.
      Director: Kurt Neumann; Writer: Philip Yordan, Arthur Strawn (based on the novel “Last of the Badmen” by Jay Monaghan); Producer: Frank King, Maurice King; Director of Photography: Russell Harlan; Music Composer: Roy Webb; Film Editor: Richard V. Heermance; Art Director: Theobold Holsopple; Set Decorator: George Sawley; Make-up: Tony Carnagle, Beth Langston; Sound: Harold M. McNiff, Earl Sitar; Special Effects: Jack R. Glass, Jack Shaw.
      Cast: Barry Sullivan (Tom Horn), Marjorie Reynolds (Julie), Broderick Crawford (William Morgan), Fortunio Bonanova (John Mingo), Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams (Red Fisk), John Kellogg (Curly), Mary Newton (Ma Brown), Louis Jean Heydt (John Stover), Virginia Carroll (Matilda Stover), Dick Wessel (Bartender), Claire Carleton (Nellie), Ted Hecht (Blackie), Harry Hayden (John Mattson), Lucien Littlefield (Old Man in Claims Office), William Yip (Chinese Boy), Olin Howland (Store Proprietor (as Olin Howlin)), Robert Barrat (Leadville Sheriff), Julie Gibson (Dolly Lane), Joseph Crehan (Mine Superintendent), Ted Mapes (Mine Foreman).
      Synopsis: A marshal goes up against a collection of vicious outlaws terrorizing his town.
      Comment: Sullivan plays Tom Horn, a gunman who would rather rob and pillage his way to wealth than work hard. When he falls in with Crawford and his gang a rampage across the west brings its yield. Sullivan then falls for Reynolds, who recognises him from a hold-up and reckons she will bring about her own personal wealth by sticking around with him. The gang finally arrive at Tombstone and hole up in a ghost town near a disused mine. Ultimately, the gang fall out and Sullivan looks to escape with Reynolds to San Francisco. This Western is an interesting take on the genre by focusing solely on the bad men of the west, who have no real redeeming qualities. That is also the film’s main weakness in that there is no-one to root for. Sullivan and Crawford add their acting chops but there is a distinctly B-movie feel to the production not helped by the corny bookend narration, aimed at adding an import to the story.

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