Tribute to a Bad Man

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Tribute to a Bad Man

Post by ruskin » Tue May 09, 2017 4:30 am

PJH:2107 wrote:Tribute to a Bad Man is a 1956 western that I recently watched on Turner Classic Movies.  TCM had given it three stars and I believe the movie lived up to that rating.

Set in the Wyoming territory of the late 1800s James Cagney plays Jeremy Rodock, the tough owner of a large horse ranch that is 200 miles from any type of settlement. Consequently, Rodock dispenses swift justice (by hanging) to any horse thief he encounters. He also plays by his own rules, his own sense of justice and his own code of honor. Along comes grocery clerk, Steve Miller (Don Dubbins in his first movie), an easterner who has come west to be a cowboy.  He saves Rodock’s life and accepts a job working on the ranch.  Also living with Rodock is Jocasta (Irene Pappas in her first film made in America) a former saloon girl he has rescued and given a home.

Conflict arises from the ranch foreman (Stephen McNally) trying to take Jocasta away, and from the neighboring father and son (James Bell and Vic Morrow) stealing horses.  As a result of Rodock’s brutality in delivering his brand of justice, both Steve and Jocasta are prepared to leave the ranch for good.  Fortunately, the film does not take the easy way out and give us the predicted conclusion---the movie ends on a very positive note.

Also in the movie are favorites, Lee Van Cleef, Jeanette Nolan, Chubby Johnson, and Royal Dano.

The movie is directed by Robert Wise and is beautifully filmed in CinemaScope and Technicolor.  The production notes indicate that 90% of the movie consisted of exterior shots (mostly the Colorado Rockies) which results in a high degree of realism.

Tribute to a Bad Man was originally set to star Spencer Tracy.  Fighting with MGM and wanting out of his contract, Tracy became difficult and was ultimately fired after the cast and crew were on location and filming had begun.  Other actors such as Gregory Peck and Clark Gable were considered for the role, but James Cagney was finally pressed into service.  During the filming hiatus, Robert Francis (Steve Miller) had died in a plane crash, so Don Dubbins (protégée of James Cagney) got the role. The initial film with Tracy and Francis was trashed and the cast and crew began again.

Here is a link to see the movie trailer, narrated by James Cagney.  Click on the link and then click on "Tribute to a Bad Man (Original Trailer) link below the  photo of the movie title card.

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid ... ry=trailer

Partial New York Times review from March 31, 1956
ANY way you look at it, the old master, James Cagney, really is at home on the range in "Tribute to a Bad Man," which checked into the Palace yesterday.

He's a mean one, all right. He's cruel, fanatical Jeremy Rodock storming through the Colorado Rockies—he owns quite a share of it—with a bullet in his back, or slugging it out with his foreman, or shooting up the old prairie, catching and hanging rustlers or forcing horse thieves to march barefoot over rocky terrain.

He's got "hanging fever" and his word is law. The eyes narrow, the nose wrinkles, the mouth twists arrogantly, the forefinger coolly grips the trigger and the voice, oozing venom, says "Do-o-on't move.' And nobody moves.
Don Dubbins appeared as Ben Perry in episode 83 of The Rifleman, The Martinet.
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Re: Tribute to a Bad Man

Post by ruskin » Tue May 09, 2017 4:31 am

rooster davis:2188 wrote:I liked that movie too. One doesn't usually think of Cagney being in a Western but he did a serviceable job of it. I don't quite get the title of the movie though, as to me, Cagney was not a bad man at all.
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Re: Tribute to a Bad Man

Post by ruskin » Tue May 09, 2017 4:33 am

PJH:2192 wrote:Rooster, I didn't get the title either---glad I'm not alone!
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Re: Tribute to a Bad Man

Post by ruskin » Tue May 09, 2017 4:34 am

rooster davis:2374 wrote:Another thing too - while there are plenty of shows and movies in black and white which are excellent and which I enjoy, I can't deny that all else being equal I much prefer to see things in color. Especially the scenes with desert views and beautiful skies, or riders on horses going down trails or hillsides - I watch those scenes and it's hard to imagine that they were taking place 50 or even 60 years ago. In color they look so much more 'real'. Every scene is a new pretty picture to look at, or another moment from decades ago that looks like it could be happening today. Cinemascope is great too, but the biggest draw for me is COLOR!
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