Saturday, April 30, 2022

The Last Sunset

"Do You Like God?"

The opening doubles Aldrich's double-play in Vera Cruz of 1954: O'Malley (Kirk Douglas) and Stribling (Rock Hudson) ride in successive shots through a mountain pass; as Douglas says later, "This fellow and I are kind of bound up with one another." Indeed: Hudson is a sheriff with a warrant out for Douglas's arrest on account of his killing his brother-in-law. The script by Dalton Trumbo (his second collaboration with Douglas since getting out of Blacklist-jail with Kubrick's 1960 Spartacus) and Aldrich takes a deeper burrow into what we might deem the 'psychological western' than in Aldrich's previous Vera Cruz with different scriptwriters and a different sensibility on the part of the director. Here there are prolonged scenes of dialogue and mutual-moistening, that buck the horse-code: movement / chat / movement / chat. It all takes place under wide-open outdoors. Everything bleeds under the blue Arizona skies: "Women like that [Miss Breckenridge, i.e., Dorothy Malone] ... are worth $1500 apiece, delivered to a Dutchman in Vera Cruz."

Douglas later learns that "Missy"/Melissa (Carol Lynley) with whom he falls in love out of half-spite for Hudson's advances on Malone — Missy is a double of her mother Malone, and 'worth one-fifth of the cattle in the cattle-drive' — is his daughter... according to Malone. 

"God has a special love for drunks, and fools, and children just like you."

Welcome in 1961 to the post-Mann psychological western, in which Rock Hudson / Stribling is portrayed as less intellectual and complicated than cunning Kirk Douglas / O'Malley, whose production company Brynaprod put this movie into motion.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.