Cowboy (1958) 1080p

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Cowboy (1958) 1080p - Movie Poster
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Run Time:
92 min
IMDB Rating:
6.8 / 10 
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Directors: Delmer Daves [Director] ,

Movie Description:
Chicago hotel clerk Frank Harris dreams of making his fortune in the cattle business. He gets his chance when, the father of the Mexican woman he loves breaks off their relationship and Frank bankrolls cattleman Tom Reece to be able to join him on a cattle buying trip to Mexico. Soon, though, the tenderfoot finds out the reality of life on the trail as a cowboy is not what he expected.


  • Cowboy (1958) 1080p - Movie Scene 1
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  • Cowboy (1958) 1080p - Movie Scene 1

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Great Pairing, Typical Ford, Outstanding Atypical Lemmon

Everything about the plot has been said, so I won't repeat it.

My comments are reserved for Lemmon. I never liked Lemmon much. Except for his horrified plant manager in China Syndrome and his grief-stricken but fiercely determined father in Missing, the doofuses, wimps, fools, weakings, and patsies that were his specialty annoyed the bejeebers out of me. They were not admirable, heroic, or manly figures. Heck, they weren't even funny except for in Avanti. I thought he'd never portrayed any other kind of role. Then several years ago I happened on The Cowboy! What a revelation! Lemmon transforms in the course of the movie from a young inexperienced product of civilization to a tough, rugged, steely-eyed cattleman and an admirable leader of men.

This is one of the best westerns you will ever see. It's full of memorable characterizations we were used to seeing in westerns before Eastwood & Leone & Peckinpah spoiled them with cheap gimmicks.

Fine Ford-Daves Western Collaboration

A city tenderfoot toughens up on a long cattle drive in "Cowboy," the last of three westerns that Glenn Ford made with director Delmer Daves; the others being "Jubal" and "3:10 to Yuma." Although not a classic like "3:10 to Yuma," the film is well made, and the literate screenplay by Edmund H. North and Dalton Trumbo was based on the memoirs of Frank Harris, a Welsh writer who actually spent time as a cowhand in the 1870's. Jack Lemmon plays the real-life Frank Harris, a hotel clerk with romantic problems and dreams of becoming a cattleman. Harris also has a little money in the bank, and, at a critical moment, he convinces a successful cattle driver named Tom Reese, played by Glenn Ford, to take him on as a cattle hand. Over the course of a long drive to Mexico, Harris learns the rigors and hard facts of the trail. The cattle drive provides the background for a battle of opposing views between Harris, who values human life, and Reese, who puts the value of a steer above all else.

Although Lemmon initially has to overcome his light-comic image, he eventually succeeds in the dramatic scenes, if slightly less so in the romantic; his love interest, Marlon Brando's first wife, Anna Kashfi, seems an odd, unattainable match for Lemmon. However, a veteran of many westerns, Glenn Ford is excellent; like his Ben Wade in "3:10 to Yuma," the easy-going good-guy image masks a steely toughness that makes him dangerous to cross. Both Lemmon and Ford ably develop their characters as they spar and influence each other during the drive. The two stars are supported by a bevy of veteran supporting players that includes Brian Donlevy, Richard Jaeckel, and Vaughn Taylor. The fine cinematography by Charles Lawton, who also lensed the other two Daves-Ford western collaborations, captures the beauty of New Mexico landscapes.

Glenn Ford was an underrated actor, whose career needs re-evaluation. While "Cowboy" may not be a classic like "Gilda," "The Blackboard Jungle," or "3:10 to Yuma," Ford is in fine form. His biography, Glenn Ford: A Life, penned by his son a few years back, is worthy reading and will re-introduce film lovers to an actor whose star has dimmed since his heyday in the 1940's through 1960's. "Cowboy," among other films, should help restore his reputation and his place in Hollywood history.

An unusual story unusually well-acted

I caught this film at 5 am one morning, and was so glad I did. The story was simple: city slicker joins hardened cowboys for cow drive. Typical "fish out of water" ? Not by a long shot.

Jack Lemmon is his usual excellent. He has the ability to undergo character metamorphosis so subtly the viewer hardly notices, yet his transformations drive the films (see, i.e., "Mister Roberts").

One thing I want to point out is the photography: it is really outstanding. The camera angles are not intrusive, yet every scene was made a little more interesting than it could have been. There was one shot, right before the Indian confrontation, in which the camera focused on Reese walking left to right, then followed his back as he went down a knoll, called to another man. The camera then followed this man on his horse as he rode up, then met up with Reese. They then had a conversation: this was all one beautiful shot!

In all, if you like cowboy movies with scant amount of shoot-'em- ups and a lot of character interaction, growth and conflict, you will enjoy this memorable film.
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