Big Country Western: “The Sundowners”

George Templeton‘s The Sundowners (1950) leaves the sense that there are blanks in the film needing to be filled, but it is also very involving.  Written by Alan Le May, the flick is a Western in which a man accepts the help of his criminal brother (Robert Preston) to fight the cattle rustling of a rival rancher.   Alas, the brother is a murderer; he represents an immorality greater than what is evident elsewhere.

Filmed in color in Texas, the movie is unremittingly outdoorsy, a properly Big Country Western, as they should all be.  Too, it avoids the soft artificiality of so many Hollywood Westerns before it (e.g. Dodge City), but is not as good as multiple oaters, such as Shane, that followed it into the Fifties and Sixties.  It’s a rather unambitious affair, but no matter.

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