As a precursor to our film project, 12 Western Feature-Length Films in 12 Months, which Running Wild Films and 5J Media will start producing in 2016, director Travis Mills shares his thoughts on films from the genre as he studies Westerns in preparation for our own. Follow the project here on Facebook
This series of short blogs is titled “Western Impressions”.
The Law and Jake Wade (1958)
I can’t say there’s anything wrong with this western on the surface but somehow it feels the life is sucked right out of it. The whole thing, story and performances, feels for lack of a better word: uninspired. John Sturges directed some very good westerns, Last Train from Gun Hill comes to mind, but this one is flat. First off, Taylor is a bland lead. Whereas his persona works well in the film Westward the Women, here he becomes the most uninteresting man in the picture. I’d have flipped the whole cast around, dropping Taylor completely, putting Widmark in the lead as the conflicted hero, and pushing DeForest Kelley into the villain role.
Lasting impression: Speaking of DeForest, I really wish he had played more main villains, there’s some unexplored greatness that lurks in these supporting roles of his.