HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
   
 
Newest Articles
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
   
 
  Man Without a Star Kirk Will Be Your Guide
Year: 1955
Director: King Vidor
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Jeanne Crain, Claire Trevor, William Campbell, Richard Boone, Jay C. Flippen, Myrna Hansen, Mara Corday, Eddy Waller, Sheb Wooley, George Wallace, Frank Chase, Paul Birch, Roy Barcroft, William 'Bill' Phillips, Jack Elam
Genre: WesternBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Dempsey Rae (Kirk Douglas) is travelling through Wyoming by train, but he's not a legal passenger, he has sneaked onto one of the carriages and is currently enjoying forty winks in the straw, his head propped up by his saddle, when he feels the train grind to a halt. He then hears a commotion outside and takes a look, to see a young stowaway, Jeff Jimson (William Campbell), has been discovered by the guard and is scuffling with him. Dempsey rescues the kid from the tracks and puts him in the same carriage he was in, and a friendship is struck up, though that night they are both awoken by the guard accosting another illegal passenger, and getting stabbed to death for his trouble...

Man Without a Star was one of the first films to be made by Kirk Douglas's production company, which he created to offer more opportunities and better starring roles for himself, and you could certainly tell this had been very specifically tailored to his talents. At this point in his career he was known for his monstrous ego, so you can imagine that being the head of production as well as the leading man gave him carte blanche to behave as he liked, which tended to suit his own status rather than looking out for anyone else. Nobody was allowed to overshadow Kirk, that was the big no-no, therefore he was in practically every scene and it was clear he was the man we were here to be watching.

Campbell, whose Jeff sees Dempsey as a father figure even if he has a habit of hotheaded rebellion in the face of the older man's tutelage, was a less than appealing performer here, not helped by the fact we always saw Dempsey as in the right and Jeff as wet behind the ears and petulant. If he had been rather more friendly and accommodating to the good advice that comes his way, we would have warmed to him better, but then if that were the case he might have been a scene stealer and you had the impression Douglas would never have allowed that. By the time they have rolled into the nearest station and the Sheriff is making enquiries about the dead guard, we were set up for a series of clashes.

Dempsey reveals that the killer (played by an uncredited Jack Elam) was not Jeff, and wins a reward of fifty dollars for his trouble, which he opts to stay around in this small town for, in spite of being warned away. This sounded as if he would meet nothing but menaces and opposition, but he does find some allies, notably Claire Trevor as the owner of the saloon, Idonee, an old pal from way back, who sets him straight on the lie of the land around there. Dempsey and Jeff get jobs on a ranch and though the kid needs a lot of teaching, things are looking up, but that won't last since the ranch is about to get a new owner and she’s - gasp! - a woman! Reed Bowman, for it was she, was played by Jeanne Crain, obviously relishing the opportunity to play a harder-edged character than she was mostly known for.

Douglas knew how to pick his leading ladies, and enjoys a good rapport with both Trevor and Crain, but if there was a theme, it wasn't so much the woman's place in the Old West, it was how much we were sacrificing freedom for progress, a common one in Westerns and one which would go on to be ever more emblematic of the American genre in the decades to come. This was encapsulated by the barbed wire that has been introduced by the ranch owners to make sure there is no question whose territory belongs to whom, something Dempsey feels goes against his firmly held principles. But he needed a real, flesh and blood antagonist to square off against, rather than the wire, that was, and Richard Boone as Steve Miles fitted the bill, exemplifying the coldhearted business of taking the liberation of being out in the West as your own man and making it into a commodity. But don't think this was completely serious, as Kirk gave himself the best lines, the best action, and even a song to play with his banjo: if anyone was the boss, it was him, and maybe not so much nominal director King Vidor. Frankie Laine sang the title song.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1998 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: