A Strong Story And Alan Ladd's Performance Make This A First
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 11/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""All my life I've been a snake...lived by my wits...gotten what I've wanted any way I wanted it. Just lately, I've been wonderin'...if...just for once...I could do somethin' straight...do somethin' a little decent."
Choya (Alan Ladd) finds himself in the middle of a cruel con, and then finds he has a conscience. In Branded, a very good Western, Ladd plays a man who has always done what he wants, a loner at heart. "You got any friends?" an old man asks him. "My guns," Choya says. "Kinfolk?" "My horse."
Choya meets P. Jefferson Leffingwell (Robert Keith), who shows Choya how he can claim to be the lost son of the Lavery family, wealthy ranch owners. The son was kidnapped more than 20 years ago and has never been heard of since. Richard Lavery (Charles Bickford) renews each year a $100,000 reward in the hope of hearing something about his son. Choya and Leffingwell plan to split the reward, and with Choya accepted as the son, Leffingwell points out that in time he'll inherit the cattle ranch as well...and maybe to speed things up they'll even help Lavery into an early grave.
A tattooed birthmark and Choya's own cleverness do the trick. Lavery and his wife, fragile emotionally since the child was taken, and the Lavery's daughter, Ruth (Mona Freeman), accept Choya completely. Then something happens that now drives the movie into a new direction. He falls for Ruth and he is changed by the decency and openness of the Laverys. He decides to redeem himself by trying to find the real son and then disappearing. This sets off yet more unexpected developments.
Branded, in my view, is an excellent Western. There's great scenery, of course, and plenty of action. What gives this movie a dramatic wallop, however, is a strong story, the drama of a lost son, of twists that involve family feelings and the issue of what makes a real father. Not the least of its strengths is Alan Ladd's performance. Ladd may not have been much of an actor, but something about his on-screen personality brought out the image of a loner with a code of honor. That quality of silence combined with strength, of righteousness that could be aroused to do right, is what he brought to his best roles and which still make so many of his movies worth watching.
Bickford, as so often, plays a strong, decent man. Keith is first rate as an utterly amoral and greasy crook. And Joseph Calleia does an outstanding job as a man, like Bickford, who has to decide what loving a son really means.
The DVD color transfer is in great shape. There are no extras.
The theme of a long lost heir who returns and who may not be true is an old one It's always good for a strong story. If you like mysteries, I recommend Josephine Tey's book, Brat Farrar. Brat is the long lost son who reappears and who may not be who he claims. One of the complications is that Brat has a twin...who refuses to accept him."
New Alan Ladd fan
JLS | 12/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have LOVED old movies (especially westerns) since I was little. But no matter how many times I watched the classic movie "Shane", I just didn't like it. It was slow, boring, and I just could NOT figure out what the fuss was about Alan Ladd. But when I read a review for the movie "Branded", I decided to give him another shot. I figured there had to be SOME reason he was among Hollywood favorites. I watched this movie and figured it out. You should, too."
A family film in a Western setting
bookloversfriend | United States | 07/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, there is plenty of Western-style action in several places in this movie, but this movie is more than that. It's a film that takes the time to develop the large number of relationships that appear in the film: the changing relationship between the two outlaw partners, the competitive relationship between Choya (Alan Ladd) and his "father", the loving relationship between the mother and the man she thinks is her son, and the loving relationship between the "sister" and Choya. It's all too much for Choya, and he rebels and sets out to put things right.
The movie is in a way like a morality play. Alan Ladd once again goes convincingly from being a bad guy to being a good guy. And with Ladd's actual sterling character, you have no doubt that this could happen.
The ending is exciting, tense, convincing and gratifying. You won't find all this is many movies anymore.
And don't miss The Proud Rebel.
Also, check out "Two Years Before the Mast (B&W)", one of the best seafaring adventure stories around. It is also a drama. Ladd is a playboy son of the owner of a merchant fleet and finds himself shanghaid on one of his father's own ships and forced to work as a deckhand. He gets the lash, leads a mutiny, and in the end stands trial with his mates as a man of character. Based on the famous 19th century book by Richard Dana.
"Alan Ladd Series ... Branded (1950) ... Paramount"
J. Lovins | Missouri-USA | 10/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Paramount Pictures presents "BRANDED" (November 1950) (94 mins/Color) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Alan Walbridge Ladd was an American film actor appeared in dozens of films in bits and small roles, including Citizen Kane --- These barely kept him and his household afloat --- He had married a high-school acquaintance, Midge Harrold, with whom he had a son, Alan Ladd, Jr that ended in a divorce in 1941.
Ladd married his agent/manager and former movie actress Sue Carol in 1942 --- It was at this point that Carol found a vehicle which made Ladd's career, "This Gun for Hire" --- His performance as a hitman with a conscience made him a sensation --- Ladd went on to become one of Paramount Pictures' most popular stars --- A brief timeout for military service with the United States Army Air Force's First Motion Picture Unit did not diminish his popularity --- None of his subsequent films of the 1940s were as notable as "This Gun for Hire", but he did appear to good effect in Raymond Chandler's story "The Blue Dahlia" (1946) alongside the similarly diminutive Veronica Lake (5'2" or 1.57 m), with whom he had been paired in "This Gun for Hire" (1942) --- His Captain Carey, U.S.A. (1950) was notable for its soundtrack containing Nat King Cole's classic song, "Mona Lisa".
He formed his own production companies for film and radio and starred in his own syndicated series "Box 13", which ran from 1948 to 1949 --- In 1956, Ladd proposed a television series based on his radio series "Box 13". The idea didn't sell. Ladd himself had played his "Box 13" character Dan Holiday in the "Committed" episode of "General Electric Theater" (1953) on television. In 1963, Ladd said he hoped to reunite several of his 1940s era co-stars, including William Bendix and Veronica Lake, for a big screen version of "Box 13" --- He and Veronica Lake made seven movies together: "The Blue Dahlia" (1946), "Duffy's Tavern" (1945), "The Glass Key" (1942), "Saigon" (1948), "Star Spangled Rhythm" (1942), "This Gun for Hire" (1942) and "Variety Girl" (1947). "In Variety Girl" (1947), "Star Spangled Rhythm" (1942) and "Duffy's Tavern" (1945), they appear as themselves.
Ladd became most famous for his title role as a gunslinger in the classic 1953 western "Shane" --- Ladd made the Top Ten Money Making Stars Poll 3 times, in 1947, 1953 and 1954 --- Alan Ladd has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1601 Vine Street --- His handprint appears in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theater, in Hollywood -- (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Under the production staff of:
Rudolph Maté - Director
Mel Epstein - Producer
Sydney Boehm - Screenwriter
Max Brand (novel "Montana Rides") (as Evan Evans)
Cyril Hume - Screenwriter
Charles B. Lang - Cinematographer
Roy Webb - Composer (Music Score)
Doane Harrison - Editor
Alma Macrorie - Editor
Roland Anderson - Production Designer
Hans Dreier - Production Designer
Our story line and plot, Rancher Lavery (Charles Bickford) comes to believe that drifter Choya (Alan Ladd) is his long-lost son --- In truth, Ladd is a crook, in league with T. Jefferson Leffingwell (John Keith) to con Bickford out of his fortune --- Intending to go through with the scheme, Ladd has second thoughts when Bickford and Mrs Lavery (Selena Royle) shower him with the familial affection that he has lacked all his life --- Making Ladd even more uncomfortable is the presence of his sister Ruth Lavery (Mona Freeman), whom he has grown to love in a manner that might be misconstrued were he really related to her --- Fed up with his masquerade, Ladd confesses the hoax and sets about to find Bickford's real son played by Peter Hansen --- Acting honors however go to the ever dependable Joseph Calleia as Rubriz the Mexican bandit chief and to Robert Keith --- Keith usually was a good guy in most films --- He completely plays against type as a slime ball bottom feeder who turns out to be far more despicable than even we originally think --- Director Rudolph Mate shows here that a B western can sometimes be deeper than so-called" A grade" classic ones --- "Branded" is a beautiful film to watch -- Shot in Arizona, it's colorful, sweeping landscapes and wide open spaces are a real treat for the eyes --- It is also, probably, the closest you will ever come to a William S. Hart western without actually seeing Hart in it -- All the ingredients are there: from the good-badman's colorful nickname to his first glimpse of the pretty woman who sets him on the straight and narrow trail to the mutual admiration that eventually develops between the protagonist and his adversary -- As in Hart westerns, the violence is minimal, serving only to advance the plot and not to provide pointless gunplay for the sake of trigger-fast action -- Hart's films (which date from 1914 to 1925) were the first westerns which explored adult themes (not to be confused with the formulaic Saturday matinée fare) and are certainly worth a look -- But they are silent and if silent movies do not appeal to you, "Branded" is the way to go. You can't do much better than this.
the cast includes:
Alan Ladd ... Choya
Mona Freeman ... Ruth Lavery
Charles Bickford ... Mr. Lavery
Robert Keith ... T. Jefferson Leffingwell
Joseph Calleia ... Rubriz
Peter Hansen ... Tonio
Selena Royle ... Mrs. Lavery
Tom Tully ... Ransom
John Berkes ... Tattoo
Milburn Stone ... Dawson
Martin Garralaga ... Hernandez
Edward Clark ... Dad Travis
John Butler ... Spig
Salvador Baguez ... Roberto
Jimmie Dundee ... Link
Len Hendry ... Man
Frank McCarroll ... Burly Man
Edward Peil Sr. ... Tully
Olan Soule ... Bank Clerk
Bob Kortman ... Hank
George J. Lewis ... Andy
1. Alan Ladd
Date of Birth: 3 September 1913 - Hot Springs, Arkansas
Date of Death: 29 January 1964 - Palm Springs, California
Hats off and thanks to Les Adams (collector/guideslines for character identification), Chuck Anderson (Webmaster: The Old Corral/B-Westerns.Com), Boyd Magers (Western Clippings), Bobby J. Copeland (author of "Trail Talk"), Rhonda Lemons (Empire Publishing Inc) and Bob Nareau (author of "The Real Bob Steele") as they have rekindled my interest once again for B-Westerns and Serials --- If you're into the memories of B-Westerns with high drama, this is the one you've been anxiously waiting for --- please stand up and take a bow Western Classics --- all my heroes have been cowboys!
Total Time: 94 min on DVD ~ Paramount Pictures ~ (9/13/2005)"