Rawhide (Hathaway, 1951)

Rawhide (Henry Hathaway, 1951)

Losing your temper causes a lot of trouble, but staying calm settles arguments.  –Proverbs 15:18

A beautiful execution of suspense and hostage. A group of misfit bandits ride into a stagecoach stop literally in the middle of nowhere to begin executing their leader’s master plan. The oddity? These men are just a random group of prisoners who happened to be in the right place at the right time when the mastermind made his escape. But in a short period of time he has them convinced he is to be obeyed and followed at all costs. As the film progresses and we learn small bits of the lead bandit’s life and watch him work with both his cronies and his hostages, while we aren’t overloaded with character definition, enough of the cloak is removed to see how this situation could have realistically unfolded. In more simpler words, the writing of this character is fantastic. Placing this film in one setting, both wide open with its endless plains and claustrophobic with its a one-room entrapment (and some great closeup shots) makes for a beautifully contrasted and multi-layered experience of suspense. Hathaway is quickly becoming one of my new favorite western directors, always caring about his settings and his people and letting everything else fall into place from there.  8.5/10



One Response to “Rawhide (Hathaway, 1951)”

  1. Proverbs 15:1 was my grandpa’s favorite verse: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Only he amended it: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but no one will give me a gentle answer”. 🙂 I know that’s not terribly germane to the review, but the verse reminded me.

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