Rebel in Town (1956)
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.
Directed by: Alfred Werker.
Written by: Danny Arnold.
Starring: John Payne, Ruth Roman, J. Carrol Naish, Ben Cooper, James Griffith.
One of the best westerns I have ever seen, and no I’m not talking about the hotel.
A family of Confederate rebels, still on the lamb after the Civil War, visits a small town for water. The son of a Union soldier approaches the troop from behind, fires his cap guns, and is shot down by a startled rebel. The family flees at first, but Gray Mason (Ben Cooper) decides to return and face the music for his brother’s crime.
Nora Willoughby (Ruth Roman) is sick of the violence that is all her husband (John Payne) has ever known. John Willoughby must choose between vengeance for his son and the threat of losing his wife’s love and respect.
So many tremendous performances in this surprisingly deep drama. Payne, Roman, and Cooper are all exceptional, and J. Carrol Naish also gives a solid performance as the confederate patriarch. James Griffith has an unfortunately small role as Marshal Adam Russell, but brings the minor character to life.
The film is perfectly paced from start to finish. Les Baxter’s score sets all the right tones, and the denouement is the one of the most suspenseful scenes in the entire western genre. Gordon Avil’s cinematography brings the scenes and set to life.