POSSE FROM HELL
US, 1961, 89 minutes, Colour.
Audie Murphy, John Saxon, Zohra Lampert, Vic Morrow, Robert Keith.
Directed by Herbert Coleman.
Posse From Hell is one of many westerns made at Universal Studios as star vehicles for World War Two hero Audie Murphy- This one comes, rather late in the day, in the early '60s. Murphy’s best westerns were made during the '50s. However, the essential ingredients are there and are done competently and effectively. The usual themes of law and order, justice and vengeance are treated well. The film has a strong cast including John Saxon as a natty banker from New York who goes on the posse, Zohra Lampert as a raped woman, Robert Keith as a man still remembering his military days and villains Vic Morrow and Lee Van Cleef.
1. Interesting and entertaining western? Audie Murphy vehicle? Popularity in their time? Now?
2. The atmosphere of the western town, the desert, the mountains? Action and pace? Musical score?
3. The title and the flames in the credits? The focus on the four escaped villains? The posse chasing them?
4. The initial shoot-up, the death of the sheriff, the criminals taking over the saloon, their callous killings? Their taking of the girl? Their escape? The town's reaction? Audiences identifying with this?
5. The summoning of Cole, his arrival in the town, the dying sheriff, the commission? His advice and not wanting Cole to be a loner? Cole's later remembering of this? The town and its reaction? The establishing of the posse? Cole as loner, isolated personality, not encouraging the men of the town? The chase? The clashes with the posse, especially the military man and his past glory, shooting the wrong men? Cole wounding him in the leg and sending him back? His reliance on Johnny the Indian and the man from the bank? The shoot-out at the house? The encounter with the girl and his advice to her to forget what had happened, to accept it and to go back and face people? Johnny's death? Helping the bank man, carrying him? The people proposing him as Marshal, the support of the girl, of the children? A picture of the American gunfighter?
6. The bank man and his presence in the town, natty dress, not wanting to go on the posse, the bank manager forcing him? His dress, the ride, need for medication? His staying, falling from the horse, involved in the confrontations? Wounded? Carried to safety? The strengthening of his self-image?
7. Johnny the Indian, his sense of duty, dying? The prejudice of the people of the town against him?
8. The violence of the group, their shooting back? The wounded man and his pleading not to be left, appealing to Christians? The violence of the leader and his death?
9. The girl and her being taken, raped? The effect on her, tier reaction to Cole? His advice? Her uncle and his death?
10. The military man and his memories, trying to take over, his fanaticism and shooting at the wrong people, his being wounded?
11. The usual ingredients but done well: law and justice, vengeance and cruelty, violence, the western men and their role as men of the West?