Director: Henry Hathaway
Cast: Tyrone Power, Susan Hayward, Hugh Marlowe
Synopsis: A stagecoach stop employee and a stranded woman traveler find themselves at the mercy of four desperate outlaws intent on robbing the next day’s gold shipment.
While Rawhide was never going to win any awards, it’s a good example of the slick product Hollywood could put out when employing experienced professionals. Writer Dudley Nichols wrote such diverse fare as Stagecoach, Bringing up Baby and The Bells of St Mary’s, Henry Hathaway was a veteran director operating in Hollywood from the early days of sound who had produced such quality material as The House on 92nd Street and Call Northside 777, cinematographer Milton Krasner had around 100 credits under his belt, and leads Tyrone Power and Susan Hayward had both been knocking around Hollywood for the best part of two decades.
It’s no surprise then that a team like that manage to deliver a solid, polished product that keeps you entertained without trying to make you think. Its ambitions are modest, and it achieves them well. Perhaps the most interesting character is that of Zimmerman (Hugh Marlowe), leader of a gang of escaped convicts who hold Power and Hayward hostage at a staging post so that they can rob a stagecoach. Zimmerman is an intelligent, honourable man turned bad by his love for a femme fatale; he makes a difference that adds a little depth to the story as his conflict with fellow gang member Tevis (leery-eyed Jack Elam) prevents the focus from being entirely centred around the developing relationship between the two hostages. Marlowe plays the role well, and it’s a shame that he was largely confined to B-movie and TV roles for most of his career.
(Reviewed 14th January 2008)