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Duel at Silver Creek

Duel at Silver Creek

UPC: 025192274626

Format: DVD

Release Date: May 06, 2003

Rating: NR

Regular price $11.95 USD
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Don Seigel's Duel At Silver Creek (1952) has never loomed too large in the director's filmography, mostly because it dates from the outset of Seigel's career, when he was little more than a hired hand, doing jobs to keep afloat until projects that really mattered to him came along. It's got a lot of familiar faces in it -- beyond stars Audie Murphy, Stephen McNally, and Faith Domergue, Susan Cabot plays a key supporting role and one can spot Lee Marvin and Gerald Mohr in the cast. This is a 1952 western, shot in 1.33-to-1 (i.e. full-screen) aspect ratio in Technicolor, and dates from the period in which Universal was grinding these pictures out at the rate of around a dozen or so a year -- the production values were low, with lots of stock music and the distinct, cheesy look of the studio backlot in just about every shot. There wasn't a lot of realism in most of them from this period; typical were costume romps like Comanche Territory or The Redhead From Wyoming, which almost look like they were done without directors, they're so indistinct and style-less. Duel At Silver Creek is better than most of the others for its somewhat darker-than-usual psychological content and the lively action sequences, and some energetic performances around the edges; there's also a genuinely chilling scene, and a suspenseful moment after that, when the female lead, whose character we've just met, quietly murders an injured victim while he awaits care from a doctor. Otherwise, it's hard to take a western too seriously that has a hero nicknamed "Lightning" and a character named Johnny Sombrero wandering through it. The 77 minute western looks to have been transferred from a very good source, retaining the requisite Technicolor luster that makes the all of it look very pretty; and every so often a character (usually but not always a woman) will appear in an article of clothing so bright -- so as to take advantage of the Technicolor film stock -- that one has to laugh at it today, along with the generic chase music. The 18 chapters are more than adequate for what is essentially a B-movie with good credentials and not a lot else to distinguish it. The original trailer, which overheats the action, is also included, accessible through a menu that opens automatically on start-up. There aren't any other extra features, apart from English, French, and Spanish captions and subtitles.
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