The Law and Jake Wade (1958)

Directed by John Sturges - starring Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark, Patricia Owens, Henry Silva and DeForest Kelley as 'Wexler'

Robert Taylor plays 'Marshal Jake Wade', a reformed outlaw who breaks his old pal 'Clint Hollister' (an excellent Richard Widmark) outta jail to pay back an old debt, thus saving him from a hangin'. Jake now lives a simple life with his soon-to-be bride 'Peggy' (Patrica Owens). But Hollister and his gang have other plans. Years ago Jake buried the money from their last job, and now Clint Hollister wants his cut.

Robert Taylor is a bit of a stiff here and I just can't warm up to him. The real reason to see this movie is for Richard Widmark and his gang of baddies, including Henry Silva and DeForest Kelley, who steal every scene. I just about died when Henry Silva sez with a straight face that he's from Kansas. Bones has a great southern accent and is hot to see Taylor get his. So is Silva. So is me. Widmark is great as usual, playing a likable jerk. I genuinely felt bad when Talor sez to him at the end, "I never liked you as much as you liked me." Widmark is devestated. He curls up and dies inside. In a fit of anger he throws his cigarette to the ground and stomps away. Patricia Owens has the thankless role of being the captive woman with nothing to do, but she looks good doing it.


And directed by John Sturges. This b-movie has swell production value, beautiful mountain vistas and a great shootout in a ghost town. The night scenes are stage-bound but sometimes I kinda prefer that to day-for-night. A solid western that is worth seeing for the locations and character actors. And I guess for fans of Robert Taylor's sad face.

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