Movie Review: Canyon Passage (1946)
“Every Exciting Character! Every dangerous moment …”
Canyon Passage (1946)
Cast: Dana Andrews, Brian Donlevy, Susan Hayward
Synopsis: A cowboy’s loyalty to his gambling addicted friend is tested by his interest in two women.
Canyon Passage, which is directed by Frenchman Jacques Tourneur, takes a long time to get going, but once it does it proves worthwhile. Dana Andrews (Laura, The Best Years of Our Lives) plays a restless entrepreneur during the gold rush era who escorts the fiancé (Susan Hayward – Where Love Has Gone, The Revengers) of his best friend (Brian Donlevy- The Quatermass Xperiment, Waco) home. There’s obviously an attraction between these two, but Andrews declines to take things any further. Donlevy is a banker with a gambling problem – something that only gradually becomes apparent – and as his addiction worsens he becomes implicated in the murder of a prospector.
It’s a handsomely mounted production with some nice location shooting and an intelligent – if a little too talky – script. Donlevy’s is by far the most interesting character, simply because he is flawed, whereas Andrews is a typical 40s hero, afraid of nothing and capable of taking down a man twice his size in a fist-fight. Donlevy’s character has a satisfyingly jaundiced view of life and mankind, and seems almost resigned to his fate. Definitely worth a watch.
(Reviewed 5th January 2012)