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Terror in a Texas Town
Terror in a Texas Town
Actors: Sterling Hayden, Sebastian Cabot, Carol Kelly, Eugene Mazzola, Nedrick Young
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns
NR     2003     1hr 20min

Sterling Hayden (Dr. Strangelove) turns in "a brilliant performance" (The Hollywood Reporter) as a peace-loving Swedish seaman who's forced to take on an entire frontier town in this compelling and startlingly imaginative ...  more »


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Actors: Sterling Hayden, Sebastian Cabot, Carol Kelly, Eugene Mazzola, Nedrick Young
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Creators: Ray Rennahan, Frank Sullivan, Stefan Arnsten, Carrol Sax, Frank N. Seltzer, Ben Perry, Dalton Trumbo
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns
Studio: United Artists
Format: DVD - Black and White,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/20/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 20min
Screens: Black and White,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Member Movie Reviews

William J. (billystan3) from AUBURN, NY
Reviewed on 11/28/2015...
Very run of the mill story line. It's the actors that make this movie a success. They're parts are well assigned and their portrayals of those characters are well thought out. Only because of the average storyline am I rating it only a 31/2 out of five.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Draw! Er, throw! Er, whatever...
Doghouse King | Omaha, NE United States | 09/20/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Joseph Lewis (My Name is Julia Ross, Gun Crazy) fans will likely be rather disappointed; this is not his finest hour-and-a-half. His films often trod on hoary ground; Big Combo could've been just another cops-and-robbers tale. But it is inventive direction, kinetic atmosphere and chiaroscuro camerawork which distinguish his work, and those elements are largely not to be found here.Sterling Hayden (The Killing, Johnny Guitar) gives another of his ruggedly natural performances, this time as a whaler who comes to his father's Texas home, only to find Sebastian Cabot (Twice-Told Tales, The Time Machine) ruling the town with an iron fist. He wants everyone's oil-rich land, you see. Sound familiar? Of course it does. 'T in a TT' is unflinchingly violent, even a little bit subversive (Dalton Trumbo scripted it) in a Peckinpah way, and jumpily structured after the fashion of pulpy noir. But none of these things make it any more than what it is: just a fairly standard oater with an unusual conclusion.The conclusion is really the only reason this film is remembered: it features a dusty-street showdown between hired gun and harpoon. Even so, we saw everything but the outcome of said duel in the first portions of the film. This one aspect is so askew from the norm that it might distract you from the implausibility. Or from the fact that everything else has been pretty much connecting the dots.Or like me, it might not."
Maritime Justice Texas Style
gobirds2 | New England | 09/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If this is not a cult film I don?t know what one is. The opening scene of Sterling Hayden walking down the main street of a Western town with harpoon in-hand to meet a gunman clad in black is just so offbeat one finds it difficult not to be enthralled and immediately immersed into the story. Hayden seems to have been breed for these types of films but with his pseudo-Swedish accent it just makes it all the more bizarre. Even more bizarre is Nedrick Young?s portrayal of Johnny Crale the gunman in black. Now working for Ed McNeil (Sebastian Cabot) we learn that Crale had his right hand blown off and had it replaced with a steel one. Crale must now use his left hand to do his shooting which has diminished his skills. Basically Ed McNeil has hired gunman Crale to buy out or kill all the local landowners in town. What is really offbeat his how gunman Crale confronts each landowner and explains to each one his own perverse code of conduct and how he must carry out his duties as a gunman. Victor Millan as farmer Jose Mirada will not beg for his life and he explains it is his duty to die in dignity at the hand of Crale. Eventually Hayden the Swedish seaman must face Crale in probably the most bizarre and offbeat shootout ever filmed. I had not seen this film in over forty years until recently but I never forgot the incredible finale. Under Joseph H. Lewis? direction it is style and offbeat characterizations that sets this film apart from its rather ordinary plot. Even the score by composer Gerald Fried is rather contradictory and strangely upbeat in some scenes. This is definitely a low budget film but a very effective one."
They all came here to see blood
Steven Hellerstedt | 06/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Dressed in a squared-off bowler, a wool jacket that doesn't cover his wrists, a stubby tie and sporting a painfully off-key Swedish accent, Sterling Hayden is an unlikely western hero. That ten-foot steel tipped harpoon he carries around doesn't help to buff the image much, either. Then again TERROR IN A TEXAS TOWN is an unlikely western. Scripted by blacklisted Hollywood writer Dalton Trumbo (Ben Perry received credit), it's ostensibly about a land robber (Sebastian Cabot as Ed McNeil) using means fair and foul (Ned Young as hired-gun Johnny Crale) to buy out the homesteaders in the small community of Prairie City, Texas. It's also about standing united against injustice, and not letting fear conquer integrity.
Hayden's George Hansen comes to the Prairie City after twenty years at sea to reunite with his father and help him on the farm the elder Hansen built in his absence. It was a farm coveted by McNeil as well, and hired goon Crale saw to the "Or else" part when McNeil's offer to buy it from the elder Hansen was rebuffed. The cowed community is too intimidated by McNeil to stand up to him, strength in unity or not. It's up to the foreign outsider to discover who murdered his father - the McNeil owned sheriff isn't going to tell, and the otherwise good folks don't want to get involved.
I'm not usually a great fan of the message westerns of the fifties. However noble it was to fight McCarthyism, it doesn't usually make for an interesting story - too many cowardly and townspeople for my tastes, too self-righteous a tone. Half the time I find myself rooting for the bad guy. TERROR IN A TEXAS TOWN is all that, to be sure, but the acting is generally strong, the musical score is interesting, and the pace doesn't relax too much. If the movie has to preach at me, at least this one offers an interestingly illustrated sermon.
If Hayden is a little stony and robotic in the lead, Cabot is wonderfully malicious as the velvet gloved big money bad guy and the relatively unknown Ned Young (looks a little like Humphrey Bogart) is beautifully understated as the steel-fisted thug. The movie also contains one of the oddest curtain closing shootout in western movie history. Strong recommendation for this little gem.