Jubal (1956)

Jubal (1956)

Released: 1956
Genre: Drama, Genre, Romance, Western
Director: Delmer Daves
Starring: Rod Steiger, Ernest Borgnine, Glenn Ford, ,
Run time: 100 min
IMDb: 7.1/10
Country: USA
Views: 125533

Synopsis

Storyline:
Found injured by rancher Shep Horgan, Jubal Troop is offered a job as cowhand and soon gains Shep’s trust. Mae Horgan, feeling she’s been trapped into marriage with Shep, takes a shine to Jubal, although he is more interested in Naomi Hoktor who is travelling with a wagon train camped on Shep’s land. Pinky, until now top hand and used to Mae’s favours himself, doesn’t think much of the new deal and trouble is inevitable.
Written by
Jeremy Perkins {J-26}
User Reviews: I love discovering old films that I’d never seen before. It’s as if the stars became young again or alive again and made another film just for me. Glenn Ford, Rod Steiger, Charles Bronson, Jack Elam and others are gone now, (and I haven’t seen Ernie Borgnine in anything in years-although he’s still working per the IMDb), but there they are in a very fine wide-screen western from 1956.

The Western hit a peak in the 1950’s. In the pre-war period, it was a specialty genre that was mostly for juvenile audiences with singing cowboys and such. Occasionally there was an historical epic. What was missing were A-level pictures with top stars, strong stories and good production values. When John Ford, after several years doing other types of films, returned to the Western with "Stagecoach" in 1939 that began to change. He and Howard Hawks and others proved the Western could be a major adult genre that major stars would want to be a part of. By the 50’s every major star and most of the top directors did westerns on a routine basis. There must be three dozen 50’s westerns that are at least three star movies on a scale of four and Jubal is certainly one of them. The era ended when the adult western on TV started giving people for free what they were getting on the big screen. Then the times changed and westerns started to seem passé’. Looking at the really good ones from this era shows us what we’ve lost.

Still, despite the quality of this film, you can’t help but think of other films as you watch it. There’s the Grand Teton scenery, reminiscent of the greatest of all westerns, Shane. The story is alternately out of Othello or maybe the Bible, whatever you prefer. Rod Steiger is basically playing the same character he did in the previous year’s Oklahoma. But the thing that really jumped out at me is that here we have the two Marty’s. Steiger played the Bronx butcher in the original 1953 teleplay and Borgnine won an Oscar for it in the 1955 film. He’s picked it up on 3/21/56, two weeks before this film opened. One wonders how Steiger, who surely wanted the role, and Borgnine, who got it, got along with each other during the filming of Jubal. They even have a fist-fight scene. But they were two professional actors playing roles other than Marty, so it probably made no difference.

Actually, the roles they play kind of parallel their performances as Marty. Steiger in most of his roles is a tortured introvert. Borgnine is a misunderstood extrovert. That’s how they played Marty and that’s how they play their roles here. It fits the story like a glove. There’s even several references to how Valerie French finds him ugly and repulsive. Maybe he should have married Clara, (the girl from Marty).

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