Ox-bow Incident

Ox-bow Incident

DVD - 2003
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An angry mob kills a man after a popular rancher is murdered.

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a
akirakato
May 11, 2016

This is a 1943 American Western film noir directed by William A. Wellman, based on the 1940 western novel of the same name by Walter Van Tilburg Clark.
In Bridger's Wells, Nevada in 1885, Art Croft (Harry Morgan) and Gil Carter (Henry Fonda) ride into town and enter Darby's Saloon.
The atmosphere is subdued due to recent incidents of cattle-rustling.
Art and Gil are suspected to be rustlers because they are rarely seen in town.
A man enters the saloon and announces that a rancher named Larry Kinkaid has been murdered.
The townspeople immediately form a posse to pursue the murderers, whom they believe are cattle rustlers.
A judge tells the posse that it must bring the suspects back for trial, and that its formation by a deputy (the sheriff being out of town) is illegal.
Art and Gil join the posse to avoid being its target.
As it becomes clear that blood-lust may win out over rationality, the tension mounts with its timeless message about the danger of mob mentality.
You'll see a lynching as often seen in Western flicks.
Although it is an easily-guessed ending, this film is a thought-provoking good one.
It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 16th Academy Awards, losing to "Casablanca."

n
Nursebob
Aug 21, 2015

Shot entirely on sound stages William A. Wellman’s Oscar-nominated morality play proved problematic for the studio when it was released. Its frank depiction of man’s inherent ability for ugliness and disregard for the civilized rule of law made more than a few execs uneasy especially when the censors took exception to the distinct lack of redeeming qualities in some of its key characters. In other words, its essential truthfulness made for uneasy viewing among wartime theatregoers hungry for happily ever after endings. Nevertheless there is a terrible beauty to Arthur Miller’s B&W cinematography. He films this long dark night of the soul using menacing silhouettes and twisted tree trunks to reflect the human drama below while a heavenly sunrise provides a moving backdrop for those decisive final moments. A troubling parable which still hits close to home over seventy years later. Henry Fonda stands out along with Dana Andrews and Anthony Quinn.

i
Isley
Jun 25, 2014

Not really fair for me to criticize this one too much since I don’t tend to enjoy movies that seem to only care about drawing attention to humanity's obvious capacity for brutality. It is tautly constructed and well done, but not what I would call an enjoyable experience.

m
Monolith
Oct 14, 2012

An intense account of bloodthirsty ignorance and its resulting travesty of justice. Fonda shines; Dana Andrews as well. Supporting roles by the great Anthony Quinn and Henry Morgan. A powerful film. FIVE STARS.

d
DTNIC
Aug 03, 2011

A great tale of people being sweeped up by events and not knowing how to stop them. Henry Fonda proves once again how even a strong man can waver when it counts. Great to see Henry Moran pre-Dragnet and M*A*S*H. Includes a wavey hair Dana Andrews and a young Anthony Quinn. How can you not enjoy that? A classic.

j
joseph
May 27, 2011

Good - The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) 75 min. One of the better westerns.

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m
Monolith
Oct 14, 2012

Gil Carter: "Say, what is there to do in this town anyway?" Darby: "Well, unless you want to get in line and woo Drew's daughter..." Art Croft: "We don't." Darby: "The only other unmarried woman I know is 82, blind and a Payute. That leaves you five choices: eat, sleep, drink, play poker, or fight. Or you can shoot some pool. I got a new table in the back room."

m
Monolith
Oct 14, 2012

Gerald Tetley (through a locked door, to his father): "I saw your face. It was the face of a depraved, murderous beast. Only two things ever meant anything to you: power and cruelty. You can't feel pity. You can't even feel guilt. You knew they were innocent, but you were crazy to see them hanged. And to make me watch it. I could've stopped you with a gun, just as any other animal can be stopped. But I couldn't do it because I'm a coward. Aren't you glad you made me go? Weren't you proud of me? How does it feel to have begot a weakling, Major? Does it make you afraid there may be some weakness in you, too? That other men might discover and whisper about? Open the door! I want to see your face. I want to know how you feel now!"

m
Monolith
Oct 14, 2012

Gil Carter (reading Donald Martin's letter): " "My dear Wife, Mr. Davies will tell you what's happening here tonight. He's a good man and has done everything he can for me. I suppose there are some other good men here, too, only they don't seem to realize what they're doing. They're the ones I feel sorry for. 'Cause it'll be over for me in a little while, but they'll have to go on remembering for the rest of their lives." " (cont'd)

m
Monolith
Oct 14, 2012

Gil Carter (reading Donald Martin's letter to his wife - cont'd): " "...A man just naturally can't take the law into his own hands and hang people without hurtin' everybody in the world, 'cause then he's just not breaking one law but all laws. Law is a lot more than words you put in a book, or judges or lawyers or sheriffs you hire to carry it out. It's everything people ever have found out about justice and what's right and wrong. It's the very conscience of humanity. There can't be any such thing as civilization unless people have a conscience, because if people touch God anywhere, where is it except through their conscience? And what is anybody's conscience except a little piece of the conscience of all men that ever lived? I guess that's all I've got to say, except kiss the babies for me, and God bless you. Your husband, Donald." "

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