Vom Teufel geritten (1958)

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Vom Teufel geritten: Directed by Robert Parrish, John Sturges. With Robert Taylor, Julie London, John Cassavetes, Donald Crisp. Steve Sinclair is a world-weary former gunslinger, now living as a peaceful rancher. Things go wrong when his wild younger brother Tony arrives on the scene with his new gun and pending bride and former saloon girl Joan Blake.

“In the 1950s, the best way to attack an intolerably conformist society was to take a harmless u0026#39;popularu0026#39; genre and subvert it, overturn its assumptions. Sirk did it with the womanu0026#39;s picture, Minnelli with the musical, Hitchcock with the thriller; Robert Parrish does it here with the Western, with a vision of Eisenhower family-values capitalist America as a medieval feudality, where everyone must pay obeisance to a landowner, where the stable family unit consists of a killer and a wild sexual neurotic, and where capitalism is actually destructive to the family and continuity, a sterile thing.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhether John Cassavetes is an embodiment of the Western hero gone wrong, the pressure of capitalism turned in on itself, or a rebel without a cause, the film is full of powerful incident – Cassavetesu0026#39; first insane shooting spree, which he ends by shooting his own puddled reflection; the drunken attack by Cassavetes and friend on a family of homesteaders, uncomfortably reversing the old attacking-Indians routine; the Leonesque showdown between Cassavetes and Ellison backed by his own brother. Very much a post-u0026#39;Searchersu0026#39; Western, land here is synonymous with spilt blood not destiny.”

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