Night Passage

1957

Action / Adventure / Drama / Western

137
IMDb Rating 6.7 10 3

Synopsis


Downloaded times
March 30, 2021

Director

Cast

Ellen Corby as Hazel Squires
Hugh Beaumont as George Copeland
Jack Elam as Otto
James Stewart as Macaulay Connor
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
829.11 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
90 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.5 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
90 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by hitchcockthelegend 6 / 10 / 10

Funny Man.

As many Western fans know, Night Passage was all set up to be the sixth genre collaboration between director Anthony Mann and actor James Stewart. After a run of successful and genre defining "adult" Westerns, the prospect of another was mouth watering to the genre faithful. The promise of something good was further boosted by the names of others involved in the project. The screenplay is written by Borden Chase (Red River/Winchester '73), cinematographer was William H. Daniels (The Far Country), the score is from Dimitri Tiomkin (High Noon/Giant) and joining Stewart in the cast are Audie Murphy, Dan Duryea, Jay C. Flippen, Jack Elam & the wee lad from Shane, Brandon De Wilde. That's some serious Western credentials. But sadly Mann was to bail at the last minute, the reason(s) given vary depending on what source you believe. It's thought that Mann was unimpressed with Chase's screenplay, feeling it lacked a cutting edge (as reportedly so did Stewart). The casting of Murphy was also said to be a bone of contention to the talented director, while it has simply been put down to him having other commitments (he had both The Tin Star & Men in War out in 1957). Either way, Mann was out and the film was never going to be better for that situation (sadly Mann & Stewart fell out over it and never worked together again). In came TV director James Neilson and the film was wrapped and released with mixed commercial results. Yet the film still remains today rather divisive amongst the Western faithful, due in the main one feels, to that Mann spectre of potentially a better film hanging over it. Night Passage is a good enough genre offering, but the plot is slight and the story lacks the dark intensity that Mann, one thinks, would have given it. The story follows an overly familiar tale about two brothers (Stewart/Murphy), one bad, one good. A story from which Chase's screenplay holds no surprises, it is in truth pretty underwhelming writing. With the actual core relationship of the brothers lacking any emotional depth. However, there's more than enough visually here to offset the standard plotting and make this a very enjoyable experience. Shot in Technicolor's short-lived "Technirama" process, the widescreen palette pings once the cameras leave the back lot and goes off into the mountains of Colorado. Trains are the order of the day here, as Chase adapts from a story by Norman A. Fox, it's the train that becomes the central character, deliberate or not. As the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway snakes its way thru the gorgeous terrain, it's that image one takes away, not anything that the thinly scripted characters have done. Still, in spite of its literary flaws, Neilson shows himself to be competent with the action set pieces, of which there are quite a few. While Stewart is as reliable as ever, even getting to play an accordion (a hobby of his since childhood) and sing a couple of chirpy tunes. Of the rest, Dianne Foster leaves a good impression as the Utica Kid's (Murphy) girlfriend and Murphy himself does solid work with his cheeky grin, slick hair and black jacketed attire that shows Utica to be something of a suspicious character. Good but not great in writing and thematics, but essential for Western fans with big TV's. 6.5/10

Reviewed by matchettja 8 / 10 / 10

As good as a Mann directed Western?

This is the Western that director Anthony Mann backed away from, claiming that the script was too weak. Was he justified in doing so? How does "Night Passage" measure up when compared with the Mann Westerns? Is it as good? Let's look at the positives first. The scenery, filmed in the Colorado Rockies, is magnificent, on a par with the best of Mann's Westerns. As for action, there is plenty of it, climaxed with a great shootout. The cast is experienced, many of them veterans from previous Mann efforts. No big difference here. Audie Murphy stands tall as the Utica Kid. He is introduced to the screen dramatically, framed against the sky dressed all in black as he pulls up his horse to look down upon the train that will soon be relieved of its precious cargo. Back at the outlaw hideaway, he sits back in quiet amusement as he goads mercurial boss Whitey Harbin (Dan Duryea), knowing how far he can push and when to back away. Definitely the most interesting character. However, "Night Passage" falls down in two very important areas, the treatment of the leading man and the strength of the overall script. Mann's heroes are emotionally scarred, bordering on hysteria and total breakdown before finally getting the upper hand. James Stewart's Grant McLaine never comes close to reaching that point, even though he has plenty of things to fret about; his brother is an outlaw, he lost his job with the railroad after helping his brother escape and he can't find another job. He contents himself playing the accordion and singing for small change and we can never really get the feel of his deep resentment. Mann's Westerns are lean and taut, with no superfluous dialog and no wasted scenes. Director James Nielson, on the other hand, gets sidetracked, allowing himself to engage in the kind of tomfoolery that director John Ford was sometimes wont to do. At the railroad camp, workers, who we never see working, dance to McLaine's accordion playing until that degrades into a wild free-for-all. Ford could pull off this kind of thing; Nielson is less successful. To sum up and answer the question, this Western doesn't quite measure up to those of Mann's, but it's not bad either. It can be enjoyed as entertainment as long as one doesn't look for great character depth. Whether Anthony Mann could have made it something more will forever be a matter of conjecture.

Reviewed by krorie 8 / 10 / 10

Kudos for Audie Murphy's acting and James Stewart's accordion playing

Without Anthony Mann to deliver the goods, one would expect "Night Passage" to be a flop under the direction of the TV-oriented James Neilson. Quite the contrary is the case. This is one of the best westerns of the 50's. Audie Murphy, continually underrated by the Hollywood big wigs, turns in his best performance ever, even better than in the more touted "The Red Badge of Courage" or in "To Hell and Back" in which he plays himself. One senses that he is actually portraying himself more in "Night Passage" than in his autobiographical film. He is up against stiff competition and more than takes care of himself. James Stewart is fine as always and his accordion playing is above average. Hell, even his singing isn't all that bad. Some entertainers with less musical talent have built careers for themselves in the record industry. Dan Duryea gives an over the top rendition of gang leader Whitey Harbin, which isn't bad, just different for the gifted actor. The only one wasted in the picture is the fabulous Jack Elam, given only a minor character role with no place to go with it. The rest of the cast, including Hugh Beaumont, aka Ward Cleaver, strut their stuff, including the two women, Dianne Foster and Elaine Stewart. Brandon De Wilde is still playing his Joey Starrett part from "Shane." The viewer can almost hear him yelling, "Shane! Come back, Shane!" The script by Borden Chase from a story by Norman Fox is a fairly predictable one, reminiscent in some ways of the more complex one Chase wrote for the Stewart/Mann masterpiece, "Winchester '73." Grant McLaine (Stewart) wants his old railroad job back. He's provided the opportunity by doing a job for the railroad, personally carrying the payroll to the workers at the end of the track to prevent Whitey and his gang from stealing it as they were in the habit of doing on a regular basis. There is a conflict of interest though since a gun riding with the Whitey gang is The Utica Kid (Murphy) with whom McLaine has a private connection. Unable to find the payroll, Whitey and his gang kidnap the wife of railroad tycoon, Ben Kimball (Jay C. Flippen), holding her until the payroll is turned over to them. The title "Night Passage" concerns not only the action that takes place in the night between McLaine and the gang but also the personal transactions that occur among the assorted characters involved in the resolution of the story. Another asset for "Night Passage" is the cinematography zeroing in on the beautiful Colorado landscape around Durango. The Narrow Gauge Railroad train ride from Durango to Silverton is available for tourists to see the topography first hand. The El Rio de las Animas Perdidas (The River of Lost Souls), called the Animas River by most, is indeed a site to behold.

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