A Lawless Street (J.H. Lewis, 1955)
An elderly landlord knocks on the ceiling of her kitchen to warn Randolph Scott’s character, the marshal who lives upstairs, that a man has just rode into town who wants to kill him. Scott casually makes his way downstairs with a smile on his face to eat his breakfast. It isn’t until later in the film we realize the mask this man wears as this scene is almost identically repeated (but this time it isn’t a happy start to a movie, but instead occurs after he has gunned down a man in self defense as the town scoffs him). Fear, vulnerability, and weakness wear on his mind as he keeps a corrupt town respectable and safe with little to no help and only a few friends at his side.
We learn of a past love as she makes her way back into town to perform a stage show. Their relationship still has passion, but they’re kept at a distance because she sees his fear and doesn’t like it. Her character is eloquent, sophisticated, and strong, but at the same time there is that immaturity that gives their relationship an interesting dynamic. This film says a lot about inner strength, love, and courage, and is another fine Randolph Scott western. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. 8.75/10