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Yes, I know this is a frontier western but it yet is one that manages to feel more like an adventurous pirate movie at times. The characters travel by water and also their looks and behavior seem more suited for a pirates movie. I'm not saying all this as a complaint though, on the contrary really. I like the movie for having such an adventurous feeling and atmosphere to it. It makes this an unique sort of western, by Howard Hawks.

In its setup and with its story, this foremost remains a quite simplistic movie. Basically it's a movie in which the main characters are traveling from point A to B and come across all sorts of dangers and meet new people on their way. This is an approach that often gets picked for a movie of this sort, made around the same time period but most of those movies don't really work for me, since they are often just not that interesting to follow and also way too slow in certain parts. This is even a problem I have with lots of other Howard Hawks movies but I can honestly say that this movie did actually work for me. Even though the movie definitely had plenty of slow moments in it, it never bored me because it was a very engaging one to watch.

Like most of these movies do, it also builds- and relies heavily on the comradely amongst its main characters. This is a theme that quite often appeals to men, so you can also really truly call this a men movie, despite the fact that it also throws in a obligatory love-story.

It's not like Kirk Douglas his performance makes this movie but his presence is still of course a welcome one. It's a movie from the very early days of his career, before he really was an household name, even though he had already earned himself an Oscar nominated and earned another one in the same year as this movie got done, for his role in "The Bad and the Beautiful", which is also a movie that I absolutely loved watching!

It's not the type of western that's set in only the desert. Like I said before, for most part its set on a river and in the northern countryside, in which the Indians still ruled. It provides the movie with some beautiful scenery, that perhaps is not really done enough justice by the movie its black & white camera-work. But who knows, maybe the overall movie would had not worked out as well if it indeed got shot in full, bright color. So we just have to take this movie for what is and be glad for the way that it turned out to be.

An adventurously entertaining-, as well as intriguing movie to watch.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

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