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Number: TWILIGHT198-BR

Starring:  Jack Lemmon, Richard Jaeckel, Dick York, Glenn Ford, Brian Donlevy, Anna Kashfi, Victor Manuel Mendoza
Directed By:  Delmar Daves
Composed By:  George Duning

“A trail drive movie in the tradition of Red River and The Tall Men, but refreshingly unconcerned with grand themes…Without being too strident about it, Cowboy pulls the cowhide rug out from under genre conventions.” – Glenn Erickson, DVD Talk

“The episodic narrative, taking in an Indian attack, a Mexican fiesta, and a cattle stampede, is more romantic than realistic; but it remains consistently atmospheric and enjoyable, with the striking use of landscape characteristic of Daves.” –Time Out London

Another Western foray from the inimitable Delmer Daves, Cowboy (1958) – based on a book by the adventurous Frank Harris – tells the tale of a young Chicago hotel clerk (Jack Lemmon) who heads out on a cattle drive under the strict tutelage of a tough veteran (Glenn Ford). Featuring wonderful character turns by the likes of Brian Donlevy, Dick York, Richard Jaeckel, and Strother Martin, the film is supported by a sweeping George Duning score, available on this Twilight Time release as an isolated track.

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

LANGUAGE: English ,BR> VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
1958 / Color

Special Features: Isolated Score Track / Audio Commentary with Film Historians Julie Kirgo, Paul Seydor, and Nick Redman / Original Theatrical Trailer

Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on March 22, 2016 9:20 PM
I remember seeing this film back when I was young on an early show one afternoon. I don’t recall a lot of what happened that day or the details of the movie from that early viewing with the exception of the fact that I enjoyed it and thought that the two leads did a great job with their characters. I liked it enough that years later when I came across the DVD release of this in a $5 bin I picked a copy up. So when I learned that Twilight Time was releasing this in blu-ray format I was happy to say the least. After watching it I remain happy.

The movie opens in Chicago with the arrival of cowboy businessman Tom Reese (Glenn Ford) arriving after having been on the trail. A longtime customer of the hotel he expects an entire floor for he and his men. The manager tells clerk Frank Harris (Jack Lemmon) to clear out the regular floor for Reese even though there are already guests there. Among them is Maria Vidal (Anna Kashfi), a woman Harris is in love with, and her family. Maria’s father wants her to have nothing to do with Harris and tells them they are leaving so no movie is necessary.

Making sure that Reese is comfortable Harris approaches him for a position with his groups of cowboys which Reese turns down. Unwilling to take on a new hand to train he gives him all the reasons not to be a cowboy and sends him out. Later, when Reese is losing at cards in the poker game he always enjoys when he arrives, he tells Harris to settle his bill. Harris asks if he needs cash to continue the game and gives him $3,000 that he has saved as long as he can be his partner. Borrowing the money Reese wins back his own.

The next day he regrets his decision and tries to give Harris back his money but Harris refuses. Now a part of the team he joins them for the trip back out west and the hopes of building himself a life as a cowboy with hopes of winning back Maria in marriage. The fact that Reese buys much of his beef from the Vidal family gives him an even better chance of making that dream come true.

But most of the movie focuses on life on the trail and Harris’ discovery that it is not the glamourous career he thought it was. Having grown up on a farm he knows hard work and actually does a decent job of becoming a cattleman. Reese, resenting the predicament he placed himself in, does not take it easy on Harris and rides him hard.

Harris’ dreams are filled with roadblocks and things never seem to turn out as planned. As Reese begins to soften towards Harris, Harris begins to become the harder man of the two, resented by the rest of his trail mates and destined to find himself in want of a friendly face. As the two men begin to switch roles their conflict with one another, as well as several others Harris finds himself in, will soon result in Harris either coming to terms with his new life or dying in the process.

While all of this might sound a bit somber and down the fact is there is plenty of humor to be found in the film as well. Certainly the various negative aspects of being a cowboy are on display here but the rewards are as well. Though various dangerous moments occur there are some funny ones as well. Lemmon, often cast in comedic roles is the more straight character here for the most part. Ford, who played cowboys in many films, is a natural as Reese and has some of the funnier moments. Seeing them work together in this way made for a memorable film.

The movie works on many levels. On one it is the classic western with cowboys, Indians, riding the range, desert vistas and danger on the trail. As the story of a young man growing into himself it works as well. And as a story of one man realizing that while he thinks he would rather not grow close to anyone in truth he has found a true friend.

Twilight Time’s blu-ray of the release is the best there is as always. Having watched the DVD version and now this one it is a much better way to enjoy the film. Extras are limited but enjoyable including an isolated score track, audio commentary track with Julie Kirgo, Paul Seydor and Nick Redman and an original theatrical trailer. Once again Twilight Time is limiting this to only 3,000 limited edition copies so fans of the actors, westerns or fun movies should make a point of ordering right away.

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