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Man from Del Rio

Man from Del Rio
Mexican gunfighter Dave Robles outdraws the town's outlaw-turned-sheriff and is invited to fill the dead man's shoes. But a tin star doesn't bring automatic respectability and Robles is shunned by the town's leading citizens. His popularity with its less-savory element, particularly saloonkeeper Bannister, wanes dramatically, too, as he starts to take his job seriously. It is his love for a decent, caring woman that keeps Dave in town, but can she convince him to lay down his gun and start a new life?


John Chard
He can do their killing for them. As long as it's on the other side of the street. Man from Del Rio is directed by Harry Horner and written by Richard Carr. It stars Anthony Quinn, Katy Jurado, Peter Whitney, Douglas Fowley, John Larch, Whit Bissell, Douglas Spencer and Guinn Williams. Music is by Frederick Steiner and cinematography by Stanley Cortez. Mexican David Robles (Quinn) has taught himself to be a gunfighter because he wants revenge on Dan Ritchy (Barry Atwater). Revenge he gets in the town of Mesa. It soon becomes apparent that Mesa has problems, the sheriff is weak willed and lawlessness is being orchestrated by Ed Bannister (Whitney). Seeing that Robles has something tough about him, the townsfolk urge him to become sheriff. But that doesn't mean they want anything to do with him socially… I like your whiskey. But I'm not sure I like you. Very tidy. The formula is standard, following along the lines of many a Western movie that featured a town tamer or stoic law man thrust into a life and death struggle for a town that doesn't deserve help. Man from Del Rio does not, however, lack for intelligence, offering up a bubbling under the surface racism strand that pits the lonely and uneducated Robles in a battle to be accepted. Robles is by definition a Western anti-hero, he's coarse, unclean, drinks to excess and has no idea how to treat a woman. That his only skill is of being quick on the draw is something of a millstone around his neck, if that skill is taken away from him what has he got to offer then? This is something we will inevitably find out, but it's worth the wait to see how this characterisation turns out. Quinn is hugely enjoyable, he almost always was when playing this sort of rough and ready character. Jurado is a little under used, her character under developed as well, while Whitney is sadly too weak as the villain. Star of the show is Bissell, playing the town drunk who becomes Robles only avenue for discourse, Bissell instills the character with pathos and humour and it's a joy to watch. Horner and Cortez (The Magnificent Ambersons/The Night of the Hunter) shoot it in chiaroscuro to great effect, very much complimenting the air of alienation hovering over Robles. Horner also has a keen eye for an imposing scene and a good ear for humour, both evident here with a heart aching scene involving the hapless sheriff and with some of the barbs emitted from Quinn and Jurado. Well worth seeking out by Western fans. 7/10

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