HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Country
Absolution
Rough Draft, A
Battle of the Godfathers
Lu Over the Wall
She's Funny That Way
Vox Lux
Aftermath, The
Five Fingers for Marseilles
Jupiter's Moon
Favourite, The
Mysteries of the Gods
Coming Home
De Sade
Patti Cake$
Hellbound
Final Destination 2
Romance
Bros: After the Screaming Stops
Cockleshell Heroes, The
Mule, The
Sunday in the Country
Nutcracker Fantasy
Spellcaster
Hipsters
Executive Action
Captain Marvel
Zombie Girl
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Rhinoceros
Monkey King 3, The
Adventurers, The
Stripped to Kill
Daughter of Dr. Jekyll
Aladdin's Magic Lamp
Christopher Robin
Hole in the Ground, The
Daniel
Blue Christmas
Death Trip
   
 
Newest Articles
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
   
 
  Bullwhip Under the lashBuy this film here.
Year: 1958
Director: Harmon Jones
Stars: Guy Madison, Rhonda Fleming, James Griffith, Don Beddoe, Peter Adams, Dan Sheridan, Burt Nelson, Tim Graham, Hank Worden, Wayne Mallory, Rush Williams, Don Shelton, Jack Reynolds, Frank Griffin, J.W. Cody, Jack Carr, Rick Vallin, Saul Gorss, Margo Woode
Genre: Western, Romance
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: To save himself from a trumped-up murder charge, rugged cowboy Steve Daily (Guy Madison) agrees to marry whip-wielding spitfire Julia “Cheyenne” O’Malley (ravishing Rhonda Fleming), daughter of an Irish fur trader and an Indian princess. It’s a marriage of convenience that enables Cheyenne to hold onto her burgeoning fur trading business. Once the ceremony is over she wants nothing to do with her husband. But rival fur trading tycoon Parnell (Peter Adams) convinces Steve to exercise his husbandly rights, so he can get his hands on the Indian land.

“His whole world will crash when he’s under the lash of a woman as cruel as a bullwhip!” sings Frankie Lane in the rip-roaring theme tune. This wild west rehash of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew was the final film scripted by the talented and incredibly prolific Adele S. Buffington. It was produced by a woman too, Helen Ainsworth, yet the sexual politics on display would most likely make any feminist’s blood boil. The opening narration ably establishes it takes a headstrong, hard-bitten woman to survive this harsh terrain, while the Cinemascope lens sweeps across the glorious western vistas. Far from a shrew, Cheyenne appears astute and capable. Her sole crime being she asks a bereaved mother to press on with the wagon train, and even that she does fairly politely.

“She ain’t a woman, she’s something made out of fire and brimstone”, sneers one of Cheyenne’s trail-hands. His fellow cowpokes are itching to see “the right man yank her off her high horse!” After stripping Cheyenne of her phallic whip, Steve swiftly emerges as a smirking git, only too eager to throw his weight around and humiliate her in front of her men. To further prove who “wears the pants around here”, he bests her hulking Indian bodyguard Pine Hawk (Burt Nelson) - who is so relieved not to be taking orders from a woman anymore, he smiles afterwards! At least he extends Cheyenne the courtesy of not taking advantage of her in bed, although her whooping cowboys think otherwise (“What a man!”).

Kirk Douglas or John Wayne would have combined such straight-faced machismo with wry humour or self-deprecating charm (indeed Wayne tackled similar material to more crowd-pleasing effect in McClintock! (1963)), but steely-eyed Guy Madison is carved out of balsawood. His wooden acting prevented him advancing further in his Hollywood career, but he headed to Europe and found some success in spaghetti westerns. He and Fleming were reunited in Michael Winner’s Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976).

One can’t fault this for staying true to Shakespeare’s play, yet it is very 1950s in its preoccupation with the “unnatural woman” and maintaining a conservative, psychological normalcy. To do this, Cheyenne becomes a laughing stock. Even her Indian blood brothers prefer to deal with Steve and send her “back with the other squaws!” If real love is all about give and take, Cheyenne loses far to much and Steve gives precious little, for which she’s meant to be grateful. Buffington scores points for crafting a scenario wherein cowboys and Indians are on friendly terms, plus an interesting twist when Karp (James Griffith), the stone-faced gunfighter hired to kill Steve winds up becoming his most trustworthy and philosophical ally. Low on action for a western, it’s still a classy, mostly well acted affair, even if the sexual politics are a headache.

Nicknamed “Queen of Technicolor”, because her fair complexion and flaming red hair photographed so well, Rhonda Fleming first graced the screen in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1949) and provided memorable turns in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) and the splendid Bob Hope comedy-western Alias Jesse James (1959). She’s very watchable here and it’s no accident her character grows more beautiful and feminine as the plot progresses. By the fadeout one presumes she learns to love frilly dresses and stops worrying her pretty little head about men’s business.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3478 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
Paul Shrimpton
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: