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The Violent Men
The Violent Men
Actors: Glenn Ford, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Dianne Foster, Brian Keith
Director: Rudolph Maté
Genres: Westerns
NR     2005     1hr 36min



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Movie Details

Actors: Glenn Ford, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Dianne Foster, Brian Keith
Director: Rudolph Maté
Creators: Burnett Guffey, W. Howard Greene, Jerome Thoms, Lewis J. Rachmil, Donald Hamilton, Harry Kleiner
Genres: Westerns
Sub-Genres: Westerns
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/05/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 36min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Japanese

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Movie Reviews

Entertaining Glenn Ford Western
Terence Allen | Atlanta, GA USA | 02/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In The Violent Men, Glenn Ford plays a rancher who owns a small spread in a valley being consumed by a hardbitten, crippled rancher played by Edward G. Robinson. Robinson's character was a pioneer, and feels that he is entitled to get as much of territory as he can get his hands on, and is close to getting it all, except for Ford's ranch and a few other small ranches.

Ford is getting ready to sell out to Robinson when the movie begins, but quickly changes his mind when Robinson's tactics become more and more violent. Robinson is aided by a seemingly dutiful wife, play by Barbara Stanwyck (very different from the Helen Barkley character she would play years later on the television series, The Big Valley), and by Robinson's younger, hotheaded brother, played by Brian Keith. Robinson also has a daughter who is none too fond of his tactics.

When Ford decides to stay, he organizes the other small ranchers, and a fullscale range war begins, with scorched earth tactics employed by both sides. Complicating matters is the fact that Stanwyck and Keith are having an affair, and have their own plans for Robinson's cattle empire.

The Violent Men is a very enjoyable western with solid performances by everyone involved."
scotsladdie | 11/02/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Lew Wilkison (Eddie Robinson) is a cattle crippled cattle baron who drives the small ranchers and farmers out of his valley............THE VIOLENT MEN, a superior Western has Brian Keith play Robinson's brother and Barbara Stanwyck play his wife Martha, a sort of Lady Macbeth of the plains, who helps her husband grab the land because she wants it for herself (this was before she married Tom Barkley!). Stanwyck also wants the brother - she entertains him rather regularly in her bedroom, and the two of them scheme for the day Robinson dies and they will own the whole valley. They make a splendidly unsavoury trio! Barbara Stanwyck is in full command of her characterization of the mean, power-crazed woman and she finally got a Technicolor Western she could be proud of. In England, the picture was aptly released as ROUGH COMPANY and it was admired for its action scenes: a horse stampede, a ranch fire, an ambush - plus much internal drama between the characters. Fascinating stuff. The direction by Rudolph Mate (who photographed Stanwyck in her classic STELLA DALLAS) is rather flat and uneventful. The cinematography (Burnett Guffey) and musical score by Max Steiner make this fun Western a first-class picture to watch."
Western Noir Drama
williedynamite | 09/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is not your average western. This more like a Western Noir Drama. The violent men features a top notch cast. Glenn ford, Edwarg G robinson and the queen of film noir Barbara Stanwyck starr in this Rudolph Mate (DOA) directed take on your standatre western. It's basically about a shrewd, crippled land tycoon (Robinson) his wife, (Stanwyck) and his hired goons who are taking all of the neighboring farmers land. He has almost all of the land he needs except for Glenn Ford's land. Conflicts and mayhem aboud. Sounds like about 100 other westerns everyone's seen a million times. Well, not this one. This is coming from a director(Mate) who directed a film noir classic so you know that the story wouldn't be that simple. There are quite a few twists and turns and more than a few wrinkles thrown in for good measure. The violent men is well directed with very good performances throught with particular nods to Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G Robinson who work here for the first time since Billy Wilders classic Double Indemnity. Good Stuff."
Memorable Battle Of Wills In Colourful Western Drama
Simon Davis | 09/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I have a rapidly growing affection for all the great Western classics produced during the 1950's and while Columbia Studios' "The Violent Men", would never be at the top of anyone's list of classic westerns it has a real appeal on many different levels that makes it essential viewing for western fans. It combines an extremely interesting human drama with the usual rugged action scenes set against some of the most spectacular outdoor scenery photographed in beautiful colour and cinemscope that you will find in any western. The real strength in "The Violent Men", is however it's wonderful cast of seasoned veterans who give their all and make the most of the characters and the conflicts they all find themselves in. Veterans Glenn Ford, and in particular the legendary pair Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson, reunited again all those years after their classic teaming in "Double Indemnity", don't disappoint in this action filled story about greed and principle and the consequences that both bring into the main characters lives.

Based on the novel by Donald Hamilton, "The Violent Men", stars Glenn Ford as John Parrish, a Captain from the Civil War who was injured and travels west to recuperate. John finds himself farming a small spread in a valley slowly being eaten up by crippled land baron Lee Wilkison (Edward G. Robinson), who to fulfill a promise to his deceitful wife Martha (Barbara Stanwyck), uses fair means or foul to buy up all the surrounding properties so that his spread will include the entire valley. Goaded on by his anxious fiance Caroline (May Wynn) John is agreeable to sell to Wilkison so that he can marry and then go back east. However when Wilison's younger brother Cole (Brian Keith), comes on the scene things begin to get very dirty with hired killers taking out any opposition to their bosse's plans. The local sheriff is killed in cold blood and his replacement is in the pay of the Wilkison clan and doesn't oppose their unlawful activities. When one of John's cattle men is killed by one of Cole's henchmen Wade Matlock (Richard Jaeckel), and he cannot get any assistance from the law, John decides against selling and digs in to defend his land and refuses the motley sum that Lee Wilkison had offered him for it. Meanwhile Lee has other problems in that the scheming Martha resumes her earlier affair with Cole and daughter Judith (Dianne Foster), who learning about her mother's infidelity removes herself from any real contact with her family. The war against John Parrish and his men hots up with Cole burning down the Parrish ranch however John uses some of his cavalry experience to ambush Cole's men with many losing their lives. He then plans a counter attack involving a massive cattle stampede and succeeds in burning down the Wilkison homestead. In the attempt to escape the flames Martha finally reveals her true feelings for her husband by throwing his walking stick into the flames and escaping, leaving her husband to die in the burning house. Thinking him dead Martha teams up with Cole however Judith discovers her father still alive in the ruins of their house and John takes them along with him to finish the work of removing Martha and Cole from the scene. Martha and Cole make plans to rebuild the ranch however upon arriving back there they make the unpleasant discovery that not only is Lee still alive but that he has taken control again dismissing all the hired killers and ordering them off the property. John and Cole square off against each other and Cole is killed in a fiery showdown that also sees Martha meeting her maker at the hands of Cole's cast off lover. Reconciled now Lee and an admiring Judith offer John the opportunity of staying in the valley managing the entire property which he now happily accepts.

A "good old fashioned western", is the best way to describe "The Violent Men". The characters are all clearly etched so the bad guys and the good guys are plain to see. As mentioned the chief strength of the film is the key performers and Ford, Stanwyck, Robinson and Keith make an interesting and quite dynamic team when locking horns. Glenn Ford I believe delivers a most interesting "reluctant hero", type of performance here as the peace loving man forced by circumstances to take up arms to defend a principle. His transition from the placid gentleman intent upon marrying and moving back east and who in his own words "owes this valley nothing", into the ruthless action man that circumstances have made him is an interesting and highly believable one. Barbara Stanwyck in the role of the unlikeable and deceitful wife of Edward G. Robinson also excels and her performance still displays the expected Stanwyck magic in a decade where she unfortunately was finding it hard to get the meaty dramatic roles which she had previously excelled in. Her chemistry with Edward G. Robinson is still excellent however all those years after "Double Indemnity" and Robinson once again shows his versatility with a well thought out performance as the ruthless invalid land Baron who manages to largely transform from a villian to a partially sympathetic character before the film's conclusion. Brian Keith in an early role also has an interesting part as the cold blooded and opportunistic younger brother of Robinson's character who is having an affair with his wife. "The Violent Men", marked one of the first major roles for Keith and his growing confidence as an actor can be seen in every frame and his interactions with seasoned veterans such as Stanwyck and Robinson have a real electricity about them that clearly marked him down for better roles in the next decade. Often just passed off as yet another formula western by some the production values in "The Violent Men", are second to none with the superb cinematography used against the backdrop of the spectacular snow covered Nevada mountains giving the hotly disputed valley of the story a beautiful almost other worldly quality. Since never once does the action move out of this valley this isolated effect away from people and proper justice is superbly conveyed explaining why the main characters take matters into their own hands to get what they want. Max Steiner's well thought out musical score also combines well with both the action and the setting and provides a fine companion to the building tension as the story develops. Jean Louis, the famed clothes designer who is better remembered for designing glamourous clothes for many of Lana Turner's plush melodramas also displays his versatility here in the western genre with the authentic and beautiful clothes of the main characters. While there has been dispute about the authenticity of some of the hairstyles for this period used in the film the clothes with their historical accuracy more than make up for that lapse.

In a decade saturated with western themed stories both in the cinemas and on television "The Violent Men", still manages to have its own unique points that have allowed it to pass the test of time. Far from being the best western produced in the decade it still is a vivid examination of human greed and human endurance and the lengths one will go to defend what is rightfully theirs. That theme is just as timely today as it was back in the 1950's. Of course for any western buff or lover of classic Hollywood it's a joy to see old costars Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson strutting their stuff in a seemingly so effortless way in a tale full of passion, greed and deceit. Not up to their earlier "Double Indemnity" standards for sure but this is a different film with a different story and they help breath life into what in other hands wouldn't be half as good. For a nostalgia filled trip back to the golden decade of western film making "The Violent Men", with its trio of legendary performers makes great viewing in this new DVD release.