To the Last Man (Hathaway, 1933)

To the Last Man (Henry Hathaway, 1933)

After being saved from an uncomfortable situation, 20-something backwoods Ellen Colby seeks out her rescuer later that evening while wandering the wooded hills as she no doubt does frequently. After stumbling upon him, she stays the entire night with him, not a sign of her promiscuity, but because she doesn’t know she shouldn’t, innocence and naivety spilling from her pores. This level of innocence and sweetness accompanies she and her rescuer’s relationship throughout the film. The only problem – he’s a Hayden – and their families are feuding! So a bit trite in conflict creation, yes, but Hathaway succeeds in other areas to compensate. The aforementioned relationship is a beautifully portrayed chance encounter, the feud (and the resulting inner family disputes) leads to several haunting and daringly disturbing images, and the rural setting creates a layer of peace and acts as a chance to catch your breath amongst the chaotic events. A fine western and family drama, and even boldly original in places if you can look past some flaws in storytelling.  8.25/10

to the last man


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