Friday, March 28, 2008

Tonight's Movie: Copper Canyon (1950)

COPPER CANYON is an entertaining Western shot in glorious Technicolor. It's nothing particularly special, but it has a polished, agreeable cast, a few unusual plot twists, and some gorgeous Sedona, Arizona locations, all of which combine to make it an enjoyable way to spend part of a Friday evening.

Ray Milland stars as a vaudeville sharpshooter who may or may not be a former Confederate colonel who escaped with $20,000 from a Union safe. Although he never directly admits his true identity, he comes to the aid of a group of ex-Rebel copper miners who are being robbed and prevented from making a new life for themselves in the west. Milland is excellent as the calm, smooth-talking man of mystery who dazzles with guns but would prefer a peaceful life.

Beautiful Hedy Lamarr plays a lady gambler who seems to be in league with the crooks but who might be falling in love with Milland. Although not much is explained about Lamarr's character or motivations, she wears gowns by Edith Head and is lovely in Technicolor.

Harry Carey, Jr., and Mona Freeman are appealing as the secondary romantic leads, a Yankee lieutenant and a Confederate widow. The cast also includes Macdonald Carey, who is particularly good as the chief villain, plus Frank Faylen, Hope Emerson (rather scary in bright red hair), and Ian Wolfe.

The movie makes great use of color and is visually beautiful, although the excellent location filming alternates with some truly dreadful soundstage exteriors.

COPPER CANYON was directed by John Farrow. It runs 84 minutes.

COPPER CANYON is available on DVD and VHS.


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