Canyon Passage (Tourneur, 1946)

Canyon Passage (Jacques Tourneur, 1946)

Tourneur is a director whose works I’ve only slightly dipped my toes in, and I’ve decided it’s time to go a little further with him. Canyon Passage is the second great western I’ve seen from the man (the first being Wichita). As with the former, this film successfully revels in its extremely involving atmosphere. The towns, the insides of the main street buildings, and the cabins in the woods are all meticulously crafted, framed, and lit to bring us straight into these characters’ setting.

In a film that features numerous relationships, most of which are superficial, the friendship between the two male leads – Logan and George – is easily the most endearing. The men lead completely different lifestyles, Logan has interest in George’s girl and it’s no secret, and George’s gambling problem leads to trouble for both men. But despite it all, there is a genuine sense of comradery between the two. Friends aren’t always on the same page, but can still find themselves at each other’s backs when needed, and Tourneur illustrates that here. If not for the added plotline of the stereotypically presented ‘savage’ Indians, and the way they try to neatly wrap up the film’s romantic relationships in the end, this would have been a near masterpiece.  8.25/10

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6 Responses to “Canyon Passage (Tourneur, 1946)”

  1. Have you seen his 1942 film Cat People? It’s great! And, I walked with a Zombie is kind of fun…. I’ve not seen any of his westerns though…

    • chrisfilm Says:

      Cat People is coming soon. I started I Walked with a Zombie last night and was just too tired to make it. I plan to finish tonight.

      Out of the Past is good, but not great. But I’m still trying to really ‘get in to’ noir.

  2. His Out of the Past (1947) looks top notch…

  3. I didn’t know this was the same director as Wichita, and I obviously didn’t watch this one, but I could see a little of what you’re saying here in I Walked with a Zombie.

  4. Yeah, I’m having some trouble getting into noir as well… I could not for the life of me finish Lang’s The Woman in the Window (1944) a few days ago…

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