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The Lusty Men

Robert Mitchum headlines this rough, rabble-rousing rodeo drama about a red-headed woman who comes between two red-blooded men in Nicholas Ray’s (Rebel Without a Cause ) final RKO film. Print courtesy of the Film Foundation Collection at the Academy Film Archive.

Schedule
May 18, 2014
Sunday
5:30 PM SIFF Cinema Uptown Date has passed

This thrilling, atmospheric Western with powerhouse performances from Susan Hayward and Robert Mitchum was director Nicholas Ray’s last picture for RKO. When longtime rodeo rider Jeff McCloud (Mitchum) is injured while trying to ride a Brahma bull, he decides to retire and return to his childhood home, a decrepit homestead now owned by the elderly Jeremiah Watrus. Once there, he meets Wes Merritt, a cowhand at a neighboring ranch, and his wife Louise (Hayward), who are scrounging to buy the place. Upon hearing Jeff’s name, Wes excitedly introduces himself and helps get Jeff hired on at the ranch where he works. Wes harbors a secret ambition to ride on the rodeo circuit, and enlists Jeff’s help to improve his riding skills. When Wes wins an impressive $400 in his first rodeo, he decides to join the circuit as a professional rider with Jeff as his coach, despite Louise’s objections. But as Wes’s winnings grow, so does the danger, while Jeff grows increasingly captivated by Louise. Restored print courtesy of the Film Foundation Conservation Collection at the Academy Film Archive. Unavailable on DVD.

Director Biography

Nicholas Ray (August 7, 1911 – June 16, 1979) was an American film director best known for the movie Rebel Without a Cause. Ray is also appreciated by a smaller audience of cinephiles for a large number of narrative features produced between 1947 and 1963 including Bigger Than Life, Johnny Guitar, They Live By Night, and In a Lonely Place, as well as an experimental work produced throughout the 1970s titled We Can't Go Home Again, which was unfinished at the time of Ray's death from lung cancer. Ray's compositions within the CinemaScope frame and use of color are particularly well-regarded. Ray was an important influence on the French New Wave, with Jean-Luc Godard famously writing in a review of Bitter Victory, "cinema is Nicholas Ray."

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Director: Nicholas Ray
Principal Cast: Susan Hayward, Robert Mitchum, Arthur Kennedy, Arthur Hunnicutt
Country: USA
Year: 1952
Running Time: 113 minutes
Producer: Jerry Wald, Norman Krasna
Screenplay: David Dortort, Horace McCoy, Alfred Hayes, Andrew Solt, based on the novel by Claude Stanush
Cinematographers: Lee Garmes
Editors: Ralph Dawson
Music: Roy Webb
Filmography: We Can’t Go Home Again (1976); 55 Days at Peking (1963); King of Kings (1961); The Savage Innocents (1960); Party Girl (1958); Bitter Victory (1957); The True Story of Jesse James (1957); Bigger Than Life (1956); Hot Blood (1956); Rebel Without a Cause (1955); Run for Cover (1955); Johnny Guitar (1954); Androcles and the Lion (1952); Macao (1952); On Dangerous Ground (1952); The Racket (1951); Flying Leathermecks (1951); Born to be Bad (1950); In a Lonely Place (1949); Roseanna McCoy (1949); Knock on Any Door (1949); They Live by Night (1949)
Language: English
Format: 35 MM
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