The Halliday Brand (J.H. Lewis, 1957)

The Halliday Brand (Joseph H. Lewis, 1957)

There’s potential all over the place here but, in the end, the flaws weigh it down. Littered with stilted dialogue, entirely too many musical cues, and wooden performances, I actually wanted to dis-like this more than I did. But fantastic cinematography and an extremely intriguing plot execution are the film’s saving graces. First of all, I can always appreciate when a film uses long takes with movement. Establishing a shot, then maneuvering the camera to create a new point-of-view, or to follow always moving characters helps to feel as if you are actually there. And Lewis does that several times, helping to keep viewers involved in what could have easily become a very uninvolving film.

The eerie nature of the plot helps mask some of the issues as well. After a disagreement that causes a father and son to part ways, the son disappears and is present only through his acts of threatening vandalism towards his father (who, by the way, is not a good man). It’s not often in westerns that you get this ghostly tone. Usually the adversaries face each other man to man, and while there is some of that towards the end, I like the approach the middle portion takes. Overall, though, the flaws are heavy enough to be distracting, and it becomes too much to forgive.  7.25/10

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: