Broken Lance (1954)

A Western remake of House of Strangers, with Spencer Tracy stepping into Edward G. Robinson's role as a Lear like patriarch, who has trouble on his cattle ranch with his rebellious sons, Richard Widmark, Robert Wagner, Hugh O'Brian and Earl Holliman. A typical '50s oater, with psychology replacing gunplay and a dose of gothic melodrama casting gloomy clouds over the wide open spaces. Katy Jurado lends her striking presence as Tracy's Indian wife, and it winds up with a spectacular clifftop conflict. House of Strangers was a rewrite of The Brothers Karamazov, and Broken Lance was remade as a circus story, The Big Show, so it's no wonder the plot seems familiar.
KIM NEWMAN

First Published In: Empire (issue unknown).


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