Dallas (1950): Gary Cooper Western, Directed by Stuart Heisler

Stuart Heisler’s old-fashioned Western, Dallas, shot in Technicolor, was meant to revive Gary Cooper’s career and association with the genre, but it did not because the film was not a critical or commercial success.

This would happen two years later with Fred Zinnemann’s Western “High Noon,” for which Cooper would win his second Best Actor Oscar.

In this tale, Cooper plays former Confederate officer Blayde Hollister, who rides into Dallas in search of the men who killed his family and stole his land.  Considered to be an outlaw by the authorities, Hollister is compelled to switch identities with U.S. marshal Martin Wetherby (Leif Erickson).

But this ruse forces Hollister to explain his plan to Wetherby’s friend, Tonia Robles (Ruth Roman, cold and disappointing as always).   Hollister then gets rid of the men, one by one, responsible for the murders of his loved ones.   He kills the first brother in a gun duel, and wounded in the fight, he recovers at the hacienda.  Soon, he and Tonia are in love.  He then goes after the second brother and, eventually, kills him too.

Marlow leads a band of renegades to the hacienda and holds the family hostage.  However, Hollister returns and, in fierce struggle, slays the third brother.

The most formidable and wisest of his enemies is Will Marlow (Raymond Massey), who proves to be too clever to fall into Hollister’s trap– until Marlow shows his hand in the final scene.

There’s too much talk and not enough action or drama in this verbose Western,  However Gary Cooper is credibly cast, rendering his typically laconic performance, and offering the main reason to revisit this horse opera.

Cast:

Gary Cooper (Blayde [Reb] Hollister)

Ruth Roman (Tonia Robles)

Steve Cochran (Brant Marlow)

Raymond Massey (Will Marlow)

Barbara Payton (Flo)

Leif Erickson (Martin Weatherby)

Antonio Moreno (Felipe)

Jerome Cowan (Matt Coulter)

Reed Hadley (Wild Bill Hickok)

Gil Donaldson (Luis)

Zon Murray (Cullen Marlow)

Will Wright (Judge Harper)

Monte Blue (The Sheriff)

Byron Keith (Jason Trask)

Steve Dunhill (Dink)

Charles Watts (Bill Walters)

Jose Dominguez (Carlos)

Gene Evans (Drunk)

Jay “Slim” Talbot (Stage Driver)

Billie Bird (School Teacher)

Frank Kreig (Politician)

Tom Fadden (Mountaineer)

 

Hal K. Dawson (Drummer)

Buddy Roosevelt (Northener)

Alex Montoya (Vaquero)

Dolores Corvall (Mexican Servant)

Fred Graham (Lou)

Charles Horvath, Winn Wright, Carl Andre (Cowpunchers)

Ann Lawrence (Mrs. Walters)

O.Z. Whitehead (Settler)

Mike Donovan (Citizen)

Glenn Thompson (Guard)

Frank McCarroll, Larry McGrath, Al Ferguson (Citizens)

Dewey Robinson, Roy Bucko, buddy Shaw, Dave Dunbar, Oscar Williams (Prisoners)

Fred Kelsey (Carter)

Benny Corbett (Bystander)

 

Credits

Warner Bros

Technicolor.

Director: Stuart Heisler.

Producer: Anthony Veiller.

Scenarist: John Twist.

Camera: Ernest Haller.

Art Director: Douglas Bacon.

Musical Score: Max Steiner.

Editor: Clarence Kolster.

Sound Recorder: Oliver S. Garetson.

Costumer: Marjorie Best.

Orchestrator: Murray Cutter.

Set Decorator: George James Hopkins.

Second Unit Director: B. Reeves Eason.

Assistant Director: Chuck Hansen.

Technicolor Color Consultant: Mitchell Kovaleski.

 

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