Great Title and Some Good Performances
Only-A-Child | 11/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Vengeance Valley" (1951) is not just a great title for a western, but a well-made, intelligent feature that should please Burt Lancaster and Robert Walker fans. A cattle baron (Ray Collins) takes in an orphaned boy (Owen Daybright) and raises him. His own son (Lee Strobie) is about the same age. Although Lee resents Owen they generally get along and share a lot of coming of age adventures on the ranch. But as they mature Lee's (Robert Walker) resentment causes him to become a slacker and the classic prodigal son. After a long absence he returns with a wife, appears to have cleaned up his act, and reconciles with his father.
But Lee's past includes a girl named Lily that he got pregnant. Owen covers for him, but this causes Lee to resent his stepbrother even more. When he suspects that his father's ranch and his new wife are slipping away from him, he sets up Owen to be killed by Lily's two brothers. Although this prodigal son-Cain and Abel stuff is hardly original, the two stars are excellent in their respective parts. Lancaster reins in his excesses and gives a nice controlled performance, with his suppressed energy just visible enough to give Owen a nice dimensionality.
Walker in convincing as a two-faced villain, still motivated by childhood jealousy but able to conceal it from everyone but the audience. Walker is relatively forgotten today, but was the 1940's version of James Dean; although his looks and style are more like a young Robert Vaughn.
When not occupied with its melodramatic story, "Vengeance Valley" has the look of an extremely well-produced documentary, going into great detail about the process of a spring roundup and providing a lot of very scenic backgrounds. A ranch hand named Hewie (Carleton Carpenter) provides an informative voice-over. The film features some great cattle scenes, a lot of good riding sequences, and a couple well staged fights. Watch for an early appearance by young Hugh O'Brian-just a few years away from starring in television's "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp".
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child."
OK Western, poor quality tape
Foramdude | New York, USA | 02/24/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased Front Row Entertainment's VHS version of "Vengeance Valley" and was bitterly disappointed. The video quality is poor and the sound track is no better. The story, from what I could make of it, is humdrum. If you're a Lancaster fan, however, the movie is worth having in your collection. And if you're a fan of wasting 20 bucks on a poor quality video, this is a tape for you!"
A western fan.
AURELE VANIER | Ottawa, Ontario Canada | 01/28/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe its just bad luck on my part, but I ordered this dvd twice and approximately at the 46 minute mark, both dvd had the picture break up for approximately 2 minutes.
I'm talking about the one produced by Roan."
Fast riding, shooting and cattle round-ups!
Roberto Frangie | Leon, Gto. Mexico | 02/12/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Robert Walker is a filthy villain, cast as a cattle baron's worthless son... Despite the presence of an attractive wife, the young boy favors an illegitimate son by a local waitress, then changes the blame upon his step-brother...
As the ranch foreman who rallies to Walker's aid, Lancaster makes a strongly convincing hero...
Joanne Dru played leads in a variety of films of the 40s and 50s but is best remembered as the feminine touch in Western Classics as Howard Hawks's "Red River," John Ford's "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," and "Wagon Master."
Set in the range country of the Rockies, Richard Thorpe balances the 'scandalous secret' with fast riding, shooting and cattle round-ups..."