MOVIE REVIEWS

Run for Cover

7/10 NR 01 hr 32 min

April 29, 1955

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You think you're the only one in the world ever got a raw deal... There's a lot of people in this world who've had a tougher time than you or me.

Run for Cover is directed by Nicholas Ray and adapted to screenplay by Winston Miller from a story by Harriet Frank Jr. and Irving Ravetch. It stars James Cagney, Viveca Lindfors, John Derek, Jean Hersholt, Grant Withers, Jack Lambert, Ray Teal and Ernest Borgnine. A Technicolor/VistaVison production, with music by Howard Jackson and cinematography by Daniel Fapp.

When Matt Dow (Cagney) and Davey Bishop (Derek) meet up they quickly become friends, but events conspire to see them wrongly suspected of robbing the train heading for Madison. Hunted down by a Madison posse, Bishop, a Madison resident, is severely injured and Dow taken to town for possible lynching. What unfolds is the truth comes out and the two men end up working as the law in town, but there is many more secrets to be unearthed in this part of New Mexico...

Nicholas Ray brings a meditative state to the picture, ensuring the thematics of surrogate families, generation conflicts, mob justice and the corruption of youth, are all delicately handled by the great director, even dealing in Freudian textures for the key character relationship. There's a whiff of High Noon in how Matt will inevitably have to stand alone, and he will also have to fight inner turmoil about injustices and cope with disappointments as things refuse to go to plan under Madison's glaring sun. But this is a skilled character piece able to stand on its own terms.

As a looker the film is quite simply stunning. Filmed out of Durango, Silverton and Aztec (the latter providing the finale set in the Aztec Ruins), the scenery is breath taking, Ray and Fapp surrounding the story with an imposing beauty that is hard to take your eyes from. Cast are led superbly by a restrained and reflective Cagney, who can say so much with just one glance of his eyes, and while Lindfors as Cagney's love interest is a bit wooden, she's at least given some decent scripting to work with. Elsewhere nobody fails in bringing their respective characters to life.

Absolutely lovely Oater, one that may not break new ground with its formula of plotting, but comes out roaring regardless. It makes you wish Cagney had made more Westerns, Nicholas Ray also, while Fapp's photography here is alone worthy enough to consider catching this on any potential Blu-ray release. 7.5/10

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