Run For Cover

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RUN FOR COVER—-a forgotten 1955 western, is fairly interesting, if you last past the awful title song.  James Cagney brings his typical sincerity to his role as a Man With A Past ,who, after some dustups, takes on job of sheriff in an isolated New Mexican mountain community. His gunshot-crippled, embittered, weak-willed deputy (who Cagney treats like a surrogate son) is played by John Derek.  Getting this hopeless punk to man-up is one of several subplots. These include a tender romance with Swedish immigrant Viveca Lindfors, requisite outlaws,  plot-convenient Indians, and a lynch-happy populace that can’t make up their numb skulls about the sheriff’s veracity.

8709723723_42226dcbaa_zKitchen-sink, with a few silly sudden-reversals of character logic, but the cast do well, direction from Nicholas Ray keeping it steady for 93 minutes. Nifty location work around Durango and Silverton in Colorado and at the Aztec Ruins Natl. Monument in New Mexico. Cagney’s first western, the goofy 1939 The Oklahoma Kid, was regarded as a joke: he’s older and toned down here, and a decent horseman to boot.

Baddies are led by Ernest Borgnine, in his busy breakthrough year. He was another, more vicious thug in Bad Day At Black Rock, then good guys at last in The Square Jungle, The Last Command, Violent Saturday, hitting stardom with his surprise and happy Oscar win for Marty.8580398769_0266728540_b

Along for outdoor flavor: Jean Hersholt, Jack Lambert, Grant Withers, Ray Teal, Trevor Bardette, Denver Pyle. Film did an acceptable $1,500,000 (inflation adjustment is $58,500,000), enough for Jimmy to do another horse opera the next year, for Robert Wise in Tribute To A Bad Man. Of reliable heavy Lambert, the Internet Movie Data Base description has him an “ugly, slit-eyed, jut-toothed, cleft-chinned menace.” Got it.

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