Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Anthony Mann Films
- Anthony Perkins Films
- Henry Fonda Films
- Sheriffs and Marshals
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary opens his review of this Anthony Mann-directed western by noting that “the typical leads” in such films “are men who were once solid citizens in the increasingly tame West, but had something terrible happen to wreck their settled lives — usually the deaths of everyone they loved, caused by people they had trusted — that sent them on crazed, savage paths of revenge throughout the West,” thus leading Mann to show “how these men finally rid themselves of their inner demons, allowing the prodigal sons to be welcomed back into civilization.” Such is the case here, with Fonda playing a ‘hero’ who “became a ruthless bounty hunter after his wife and child died,” who “rides into a struggling town where a young deputy (Anthony Perkins) is in over his head trying to bring about law and order.” Peary notes that perhaps Fonda sees “himself in Perkins, who had been a youth with hopes, dreams, and ideals,” and thus he “teaches him the ropes so that he can handle any situation.”
Meanwhile, he “becomes attached to” a widow and her son — a “ready-made new family” — and once “again has something to live for.”
Interestingly, The Tin Star has a “pacifist theme, unusual for a western,” and “Mann succeeds in getting us to want a peaceful resolution, without hero-vs.-bad-guy confrontation scenes.” Meanwhile, “Fonda gives a very controlled, sensible performance” — not “nearly as neurotic as Jimmy Stewart in his Mann films.”
I’m in overall agreement with Peary’s review of this well-made western, nicely filmed by cinematographer Loyal Griggs and featuring a relatively uncomplicated tale of mentoring and redemption in the Old West. Film fanatics will surely enjoy seeing Betsy Palmer (of Friday the 13th notoriety) as a sympathetic young single mother:
… Neville brand as (naturally) a baddie:
… and John McIntire giving a quiet but powerful performance as the beloved town doctor.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Loyal Griggs’ cinematography
- Elmer Bernstein’s score
No, though it’s worth a look if you like westerns.