the acting in the beginning of the film (particularly between the father and daughter) was a turn off, but this ameliorates itself because the father is killed off and the daughter’s perceived bad acting turns out to be part of a unique character. elmer bernstein’s music is a highlight, as are the performances by duvall (in a minor role), wayne (in his only oscar-winning performance), and darby. darby steals the show as a young woman looking for her father’s killer. she won’t be pushed around by anyone, often invoking the name of her lawyer, as if to prove that she’s a force with which to be reckoned. and she is. she pushes around the toughest federal marshall in the town (rooster cogburn, played by john wayne) and just about everyone else. great character.
the writing is also a highlight. as are the locations. throughout the film i was trying to figure out where they were filming. at times i thought i recognized the sierras and at times i thought the mountains were the rockies. by films end i figured i just didn’t know what i was talking about so i stopped trying to guess. as it turns out, i was right – the film was shot in both colorado and california. two films that i can recall which featured even better mountain scenery are shane and far country which were shot in wyoming and jasper/banff, respectively.
henry hathaway directs and does he usual, fine job.