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(Review originally written at 29 September 2006)

Raoul Walsh was perhaps the most entertaining director of the '40's, with movies like "Objective, Burma!", "They Died with Their Boots On" and "Gentleman Jim" behind his name, plus he also made some good early westerns. Sounds like the perfect guy to direct a movie like this, especially since this movie is a western remake of his earlier directed movie classic "High Sierra", with Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino. This movie might not be as 'star-filled' as the original but it's just as entertaining, arousing and intriguing on its own.

Westerns from the '40's were much different from the later spaghetti-westerns everybody knows. The early westerns from the '40's and the decades before that are a bit forgotten movies, probably mainly because they differ so much from the later westerns from the '60's and '70's that everybody from that- and later generations, basically grew up with. Westerns from the '40's were much darker and possibly less formulaic. This movie is basically more 'film-noir' than real western. It has all the basic film-noir ingredients in it; Backstabbing characters, treacherous woman, a criminal plot and mysterious unpredictable characters. It makes this movie also real perfect to watch for persons who don't like spaghetti-westerns.

Leave it up to director Raoul Walsh to tell a story well and entertaining. The story of "Colorado Territory" really isn't the most spectacular story you could think of but the way it is told and brought to the screen all can be called spectacular. The movie is filled with some real good action sequences and spectacular looking stunts. But granted that the storytelling is not completely flawless. The movie is perhaps a bit too short and the love story of the movie also doesn't quite work out as good as it could had been. I don't know, for some reason it just doesn't feel right, or connects with the rest of the movie.

The storytelling also makes sure that the movie remains for most part unpredictable, which also helps to make the film-noir elements work out. "Colorado Territory" is a rare both unpredictable and entertaining movie.

The cast is solid. It isn't filled with the most known actors of its period. Perhaps Errol Flynn was expected to play a role in this, since he worked a lot with Raoul Walsh in the '40's but instead the main part is played by Joel McCrea, who was an expert at playing characters in westerns. He plays a good and convincing tough-guy who has a good heart. Perhaps a bit too much of a good heart to make the story entirely believable but that's just common and entirely fitting for '40's movie-making standards.

An interesting to watch- and spectacular entertaining noir-western, that just like its original version "High Sierra", deserves to be seen.

8/10

About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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