Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


BLOWING WILD (1953). Director: Hugo Fregonese.

When Mexican bandits drive them off from their new well, Jeff Dawson (Gary Cooper) and Dutch Peterson (Ward Bond) look for work. They get hired to drive some nitro over bumpy roads. Before this can turn into The Wages of Fear or Violent Road, they next run into old pal Paco (Anthony Quinn), a wealthy fellow who hires them to work on his latest well. Two women get involved in the action: Paco's wife Marina (Barbara Stanwyck), who still has a hankering for her former lover, Jeff;  and stranded nice gal Sal (Ruth Roman), who develops feelings for Jeff as well. This domestic situation is not a good one, and there are still those pesky bandits to deal with. Blowing Wild has its moments -- the bandits chasing after Jeff and Dutch as they careen inside their truck with the nitro; a race between Paco in his car and Marina on her horse -- but the movie can't overcome the fact that the storyline has been done too often and is a little stale. At fifty-two Cooper looks and acts much older, and his semi-love scenes with Stanwyck are never convincing. As for Stanwyck, she really delivers in key scenes, but by and large she (surprisingly for her) just walks through her other sequences with that typical once-removed "Hollywood" acting that often afflicted other stars. Roman and Bond are okay, while Quinn almost walks off with the picture. Juan Garcia is vivid as the slimy bandit leader. Dimitri Tiomkin's score is a decided asset. Frankie Laine sings the title song in his usual over-wrought style.

Verdict: The script nearly defeats this before it begins. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

I'm so disappointed you didn't care for this one, Bill, I mean, what a cast! But it is true, the best actors in the world can't save a bad script. But this is coming from someone who even enjoys Stanwyck in Roustabout and Big valley, so I may give this a look-see if it comes on TV.

William said...

Yes, do, it's not a bad picture, just disappointing. I used to look at Big Valley, too, and I have a DVD of "Roustabout" which one of these days I'll get around to looking at!