Film Review – CROSSFIRE TRAIL (2001)

CROSSFIRE TRAIL (TV) (USA, 2001) ***
      Distributor: Turner Network Television (TNT); Production Company: Turner Network Television / Brandman Productions / TWS Productions; Release Date: 21 January 2001; Running Time: 92m; Colour: Colour; Sound Mix: Mono; Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Spherical; Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1; BBFC Cert: 15.
      Director: Simon Wincer; Writer: Charles Robert Carner (based on the novel by Louis L’Amour); Executive Producer: Michael Brandman, Tom Selleck; Producer: Steven J. Brandman, Thomas John Kane; Director of Photography: David Eggby; Music Composer: Eric Colvin; Film Editor: Terry Blythe; Casting Director: Sean Cossey, Lisa Freiberger, Iris Grossman; Production Designer: Roy Forge Smith; Art Director: Tracey Baryski; Set Decorator: Janice Blackie-Goodine; Costumes: Elsa Zamparelli; Make-up: Gail Kennedy; Sound: Garrell Clark.
      Cast: Tom Selleck (Rafe Covington), Virginia Madsen (Ann Rodney), Wilford Brimley (Joe Gill), David O’Hara (Rock Mullaney), Christian Kane (J.T. Langston), Barry Corbin (Sheriff Walter Moncrief), Joanna Miles (Melissa Thompson), Ken Pogue (Gene Thompson), Patrick Kilpatrick (Mike Taggart), Rex Linn (Luke Taggart), William Sanderson (Dewey (the bartender)), Daniel Parker (Taggart Gang (as Daniel T. Parker)), Marshall R. Teague (Snake Corville (as Marshall Teague)), Brad Johnson (Beau Dorn), Mark Harmon (Bruce Barkow), Kyla Wise (Millie (the barmaid) (as Kyla Anderson)).
      Synopsis: Rafe Covington promises a dying friend that he’ll watch over the man’s wife and ranch after he’s gone.
      Comment: A handsomely-mounted Western with a strong central performance from Selleck, but an overly melodramatic villain in Harmon. Selleck honours a promise he makes to a dying man to look after his ranch and wife (Madsen). On arriving in town Selleck sees that Madsen has come under the influence of land-grabber Harmon. The result is a battle of wills that leads to the inevitable shootout finale. Whilst there is much here that is predictable, this is still an entertaining and old-fashioned tale that coasts on Selleck’s charm. There is a good support cast headed by Brimley as a wizened cowhand who helps Selleck get the ranch up and running. Director Wincer is best known for his work on the TV mini-series Lonesome Dove. Shot in Alberta, Canada.

Film Review Round-up – A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES (2014); CROSSFIRE (1947); CROSSFIRE TRAIL (2001) and DECISION AT SUNDOWN (1957).

51Z-D5DDmkL._SY300_Walk Among the Tombstones, A (2014; USA; Technicolor; 113m) ∗∗∗½  d. Scott Frank; w. Scott Frank; ph. Mihai Malaimare Jr.; m. Carlos Rafael Rivera; ed. Jill Savitt.  Cast: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, Marina Squerciati, Sebastian Roché, Boyd Holbrook, Stephanie Andujar, David Harbour, Briana Marin, Toshiko Onizawa, Purva Bedi, Maurice Compte, Patrick McDade, Luciano Acuna Jr., Hans Marrero, Laura Birn. Matt Scudder (Neeson), an unlicensed private investigator, reluctantly agrees to help a heroin trafficker (Stevens) hunt down the men who kidnapped and then brutally murdered his wife. Neeson is on fine form and although it never strays too far from genre conventions this is a professionally packaged dark thriller. Based on the novel by Lawrence Block. [15]

220px-Crossfire213Crossfire (1947; USA; B&W; 85m) ∗∗∗½  d. Edward Dmytryk; w. John Paxton; ph. J. Roy Hunt; m. Roy Webb; ed. Harry W. Gerstad.  Cast: Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, Gloria Grahame, Sam Levene, Paul Kelly, Jacqueline White, Steve Brodie, Lex Barker. This unusual and worthwhile black-and-white film noir was one of the first movies to deal with issues of anti-Semitism. A weary Washington detective must get to the bottom of a seemingly motive-lacking murder, with the prime suspect a boozy soldier who can only vaguely recall the events of the night. Dmytryk (also responsible for MURDER MY SWEET in 1944) directs with a sure and efficient hand giving the story sufficient room to breathe whilst keeping the plot moving along. Whilst this is not a classic, the film is one of the better examples of the atmosphere and tension the genre could create with a gifted director at the helm. Based on the novel “The Brick Foxhole” by Richard Brooks. Also available in a computer colourised version. [PG]

Crossfire_Trail_CoverCrossfire Trail (TV) (2001; USA; Colour; 92m) ∗∗∗  d. Simon Wincer; w. Charles Robert Carner; ph. David Eggby; m. Eric Colvin; ed. Terry Blythe.  Cast: Tom Selleck, Virginia Madsen, Wilford Brimley, David O’Hara, Christian Kane, Barry Corbin, Joanna Miles, Ken Pogue, Patrick Kilpatrick, Rex Linn, William Sanderson, Daniel Parker, Marshall R. Teague, Brad Johnson, Mark Harmon. Rafe Covington promises a dying friend that he’ll watch over the man’s wife and ranch after he’s gone. Well-made western with a strong central performance from Selleck, but an overly melodramatic villain in Harmon. Good support cast headed by Brimley as wisened cow hand. Based on the novel by Louis L’Amour [15]

Decision_at_Sundown_FilmPosterDecision at Sundown (1957; USA; Technicolor; 77m) ∗∗∗∗  d. Budd Boetticher; w. Charles Lang; ph. Burnett Guffey; m. Heinz Roemheld; ed. Al Clark.  Cast: Randolph Scott, John Carroll, Karen Steele, Valerie French, Noah Beery Jr., John Archer, Andrew Duggan, James Westerfield, John Litel, Ray Teal, Vaughn Taylor, Richard Deacon, H.M. Wynant. Scott and his sidekick arrive in the town of Sundown on the wedding day of the town boss, whom the Scott blames for his wife’s death years earlier. Well-made Western where all the characters are shades of grey. Scott delivers one of his best performances as an angst ridden ex-civil war vet out for revenge. Based on a story by Vernon L. Fluharty. [PG]