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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful.
Very good, underappreciated Western
By B. Cathey
CATTLE KING is a fine, if under appreciated, little Western that came out (1963) at the end of the great heyday of film Westerns. Starring Robert Taylor, and with a very capable supporting cast that includes Ray Teal, Robert Middleton, Joan Caulfield, and Malcolm Atterbury, CATTLE KING has the advantage of veterans Nat Holt as producer and Paul Sawtell for the musical score. It is certainly one of the most magnificently-filmed oaters of the period, with breathtaking and colorful scenery framing almost every scene.
But more interesting--and impressive--for me has always been the tight and well-crafted script, and the fine, no-nonsense acting of Robert Taylor. Certainly, Taylor was never that much identified with the Western genre, but during his career in Hollywood he made about fifteen oaters, and most of them were good to, in a few cases, remarkably good. It helped, of course, that MGM backed the product. But Taylor also turned in some very believable and memorable performances; his sympathetic portrayal of the plight of the American Indian in DEVIL'S DOORWAY, his role as a wagon master with a wagon train composed mostly of women in William Wellman's WESTWARD THE WOMEN, his straight-arrow cavalry role in AMBUSH, and his last sagebrush undertaking, RETURN OF THE GUNFIGHTER (1967), demonstrate that Taylor was not just the dependable Hollywood matinee idol, but an extremely believable Western star, as well.
Ever since I saw CATTLE KING years ago, I've always liked it; it never fails to engage me. Although I know the story and the eventual outcome, the film repays repeated viewing, and I can't say that for all the films I watch! Several writers on Westerns mention that CATTLE KING has a "message," and it is true that Taylor seems to stand for conserving the Teton range area of Wyoming. The film fits into an historical period, 1883, and with the appearance in the film of President Chester Arthur, certain historical questions emerge. But they mostly serve as a backdrop to the film's action, and there is plenty of it.
Western fans, fans of Robert Taylor, and devotees of action films, will not be disappointed. The print is beautiful and full screen. I recommend this release highly, and not just to old cowpokes like me!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
REALLY ENJOYED IT! ONE I'D NEVER SEEN BEFORE AND ONCE AGAIN CURSE THE TV CHANNELS AND RETAILERS IN AUSTRALIA FOR STILL DISHING UP THE SAME OLD HANDFUL OF WESTERNS AND IGNORING GEMS LIKE THIS. I DISAGREE WITH THE FEEBLE RATING IT'S GIVEN IN 'LEONARD MALTIN'S MOVIE GUIDE' . . SOMETIMES THEY DON'T SEEM TO KNOW A GOOD WESTERN WHEN THEY SEE IT!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful. See all 20 customer reviews...
By SUE CAMPBELL