Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > The Sundowners (1950/VCI)

The Sundowners (VCI/1950)


Picture: C    Sound: C     Extras: C     Film: C+



Does The Western always have to have great meaning to be good or great?  Well, yes if you want greatness, but the genre at its peak had smaller moments worth noting that might go underappreciated, and George Templeton’s The Sundowners (1950) is one of those little films that works better than it should.


The two Cloud Brothers Tom (Robert Sterling) and ‘Kid Wichita’ James (Robert Preston) are on opposite sides of the law.  After years of wrangling, Tom is actually the bad guy and with kids involved, the years of avoiding suppressed personal feelings and putting unfinished business on hold can no longer stand.  Instead of some phony “happy family understanding” conclusion we would get thrown at us, this is a film that follows some formula and conventions, yet is done with some intensity and consistency that makes it more watchable than the usual formula sludge the genre was becoming known for at the time.


Add one of the best roles and performances by all-time Western stand-by Chill Wills and you get a very watchable film form the Eagle Lion Studio that works well, especially if you are a fan of Westerns.  It takes itself more seriously than most films of its kind did to that time and the screenplay by writer/producer Alan De May is much better than his High Lonesome (reviewed elsewhere on this site) for the same company the same year.  Jack Elam also stars, so what more could you want?


The film was shot in three-strip Technicolor by cinematographer Winton C. Hoch, who gets some good angles in, with the problematic print shown here is presented at 1.33 X 1 (though was it 1.66 X 1?  We cannot say for certain) has softness and colors that are starting to go.  It still has a few good color moments, however.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is a few generations down, but is not bad.  Extras include a stills gallery with poster art, text bios, a VCI promo for other Western DVDs and an average episode of Stories of The Century that is worth a look.  The Sundowners is a pleasant surprise for fans and non-fans might enjoy it too.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com