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This week focuses on a Western directed by Fritz Lang.
RANCHO NOTORIOUS (1952)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
What I’ve seen of Fritz Lang’s work is very direct, full of style in its visuals and characterizations, with overloaded plots and a lack of subtext. RANCHO NOTORIOUS has many of those attributes but it works on enough levels to remain an entertaining Western.
Some of that credit belongs to the concept: the idea of a den of thieves located at a remote ranch is quite good and most of the movie’s best scenes revolve around the interaction between those outlaws. Arthur Kennedy is a solid lead, the most complicated character of the piece. I never understood the Marlene Dietrich thing and this film doesn’t do anything to change that. She neither evokes power and lust for me. Regardless, the competition and tension between the men, specifically Kennedy and Mel Ferrer stays strong throughout, all the way to a memorable final gunfight. The last shot of the movie, however, is quite odd.
Watched on Criterion Channel.