Götterdämmerung in Technicolor: Fritz Lang’s ‘Rancho Notorious’

19 September, 2011 (05:51) | by Richard T. Jameson, Essays, Westerns | By: Richard T. Jameson

O listen … listen well:
Listen to the Legend of Chuck-a-Luck,
Chuck-a-Luck,
Listen to the song of the gambler’s wheel,
A souvenir of a bygone year,
Spinning a tale of the old frontier
And a man of steel,
And the passion that drove him on, and on, and on.

It began, they say, one summer’s day
When the sun was blazing down;
‘Twas back in the early Seventies
In a little Wyoming town.
So, listen to the Legend of Chuck-a-Luck, Chuck-a-Luck,
Listen to the Wheel of Fate
As round and round with a whispering sound
It spins, it spins
The old, old story of
Hate, Murder and Revenge!

Any movie that gets underway with a song like that is going to be a little strange. And Rancho Notorious is strange. Peculiar. Outrageous. Utterly distinctive. I can only sympathize with any Western fan who dropped into his local grindhouse some night in 1952 for an hour-and-a-half of vicarious gunplay and eye-soothing scenery. Although it includes a goodly amount of shooting, a jailbreak, a bank holdup, a vicious fistfight and some token (very second-unit–style) hard riding, Rancho Notorious offers little in the way of genre compensations. Its theme ballad foregoes the customary easy jogging rhythms of most Western music for a tortuous, neurotic progression all its own; the mode is epic, but closer to Brechtian Epic than big-country epic. Indeed, the song bids to be exemplary: we are advised to “listen, listen well.” The didactic note is consistent with the previous work of a director who has specialized in putting his protagonists through hellish learning experiences (a character in one film speaks of having watched himself burn to death a dozen times over in a newsreel of his “lynching”; another Lang film consists mostly of a dream wherein the protagonist witnesses himself succumbing to what seems a single harmless temptation, then being lost in a morass of guilty complications that serve to confirm his waking self in straightlaced morality). And the film is exotically personal. It is drolly, thrillingly right that the last four words of the chorus should coincide with the credit title DIRECTED BY FRITZ LANG: Rancho Notorious is a Teutonic revenge drama that partakes of the conventions and uses of the American Western—gunmen on horseback settling disputes against mythic backgrounds—without ever leaving the Fritz Lang universe. Siegfried, Kriemhild, and Hagen Tronje would feel right at home at Chuck-a-Luck.

Rancho Notorious begins with two lovers kissing in huge rosy closeup that effectively abstracts them from anything like the real world. The camera pulls back and we find ourselves in a western office, an assayer’s shop, deserted—as is the town, almost—but for these two people. They speak of their impending marriage and, like other Lang lovers standing before department store windows (Fury) or inviting, buyable homes (You Only Live Once), contemplate a blissful future somewhere called Lost Cloud Ranch. The bridegroom-to-be, Vern Haskell (Arthur Kennedy), bestows a last kiss on his fiancée, Beth Forbes (Gloria Henry), and returns to his cattle-herding tasks outside town. Immediately after he has ridden off, Beth is approached by a holdup man who rapes and murders her. Vern sets off in pursuit, riding on alone after the posse reins in at the limit of legal jurisdiction, and coming upon the murderer’s mortally wounded partner. This man, Whitey (John Doucette), dies after providing Vern with a single, bewildering clue to the guilty man’s destination: the word “Chuck-a-Luck”—Fritz Lang’s “Rosebud.”

Now where and what is Chuck-a-Luck, Chuck-a-Luck?
Nobody knows and the dead won’t tell.
So on and on relentlessly this man pursues his quest,
Through autumn and winter, searching the great Southwest.
This thing that drives him like a whip will never let him rest.
Night and day, early and late,
He looks for a town, or a place, or a face,
And deep within him burn the fires of
Hate, Murder and Revenge!

Rancho Notorious, then, swiftly turns into a movie about a manhunt, like so many other Lang films. Through a series of leads Vern manages to find and join forces with a genial outlaw named Frenchy Fairmont (Mel Ferrer), who takes him along to Chuck-a-Luck. Chuck-a-Luck proves to be an out-of-the-way horse ranch presided over by Altar Keane (Marlene Dietrich), a legendary dancehall queen of years gone by who now lives for Frenchy’s periodic returns from plying his trade, and also for a share of the ill-gotten gains won by Chuck-a-Luck’s other houseguests: the place is a haven for outlaws on the dodge. Vern’s man is there, a fellow called Kinch (Lloyd Gough), but some time passes before either recognizes the other. Meanwhile, Vern, technically an outlaw himself by now, is well-embarked on the familiar progress of a Lang protagonist, his initial righteousness considerably besmirched by the moral compromises necessary in carrying out his quest. The film moves toward an apocalyptic finale worthy of Die Nibelungen: Vern has seen Altar wearing a brooch he gave Beth moments before her death; she, unaware of its history, reveals that Kinch gave it to her; the rest of the gang come gunning for Altar, convinced she is going to betray them all. When the smoke clears the various badmen have died or fled and Altar herself lies mortally wounded. Frenchy has watched Vern woo Altar away from him, as part of his campaign to find Beth’s killer, and now he and Vern (so the last verse of the song tells us) ride away to die by each other’s hand.

Such a synopsis grossly oversimplifies the action and ignores whole sectors of the plot and the complexity of various characterizations. I prefer to deal with these in connection with the formal structure of the movie—one of the most formal movies I have ever encountered.

* * *

Lang’s title for Rancho Notorious was Chuck-a-Luck, a name rejected by RKO boss Howard Hughes because European audiences wouldn’t know what it meant. (Lang’s reply, as recalled in interview with Peter Bogdanovich: “Uh-huh. But they would know what Rancho Notorious is?”) In fact, no title could be more apt or point more clearly to the powerful form on which the film is based.

Chuck-a-Luck is a variety of vertical roulette as well as the name of Altar Keane’s ranch hideout. The ballad identifies “the gambler’s wheel” with “the Wheel of Fate.” The wheel has about its rim a series of pegs demarcating areas bearing one die combination or another; the wheel spins, the pegs snag at and eventually entrap a flexible shaft, and the wheel stops turning; anyone with a bet on the corresponding die combination on the board wins. The stops on the wheel are analogous, if you will, to frames, or to scenes—analogous, at any rate, to stylistic events. The wheel spins, the narrative proceeds, time passes during Vern’s relentless pursuit, and periodically we stop to watch an entire shaped scene whenever something significant happens.

The concept of the frame is crucial to Fritz Lang. The very motion picture frame itself implies an intensely restricted awareness within an intensely restrictive environment. An abstract, but highly lucid and dramatic, instance of this is that moment in M when Beckert (Peter Lorre) stands on a streetcorner, having just realized that he is being shadowed. Around him, we know, an army of beggars in the service of the underworld are closing the net; but we do not see them in the shot. All we see is Beckert, on the streetcorner, photographed from a position a few yards down the sidewalk; Beckert stands against the emptiness of an intersection, only the corner of an adjacent building visible at frame right. The whistles of the beggar patrols stab the night as vividly as any child-murderer’s blade, and with each whistle Beckert leaps a few inches one way or the other, the frame remaining fixed: he can’t get out of the shot. Finally he selects a route, in the general direction of the camera, and takes several steps. The camera pans slightly to follow him, bringing into view a bit more of that nearby wall. Beckert freezes again: there is a man flattened along that wall, watching him. Beckert had already reached the corner; he should have seen someone standing against that wall—should have, by any rule of spatial logic except that which Lang is applying. The motion picture frame is a trap as effective as iron bars or a cordon of pursuers. Within that frame the character is visible, and vulnerable. Just beyond it lurks … who knows what? The unseen holds power over the seen. And although we in the audience are watchers, although we knew Beckert was being tracked by the beggars before he knew it, we didn’t know that that man would be standing precisely there. And Beckert’s knowledge was not increased until ours was increased.

Frames trap Lang’s characters as his films’ plots trap them. In any given shot it is difficult to imagine an actor standing anywhere other than where he stands, relating to camera, movement, architecture, light-and-shadow patterns in any other manner.* Shadows, angles, pointing fingers and clutching hands impinge on people. Within the movie frame they are framed again—by doors, windows, enemies motionless (two Nazi guards who have come to beat up Capt. Thorndike in Man Hunt) and in motion (Prof. Wanley of Woman in the Window, an unsuspected assassin returning with a prosecuting-attorney friend to the site where he disposed of the corpse, making a joke about the police “closing in on me”—while camera movement and the movement of the various police officers cause trees and cops to crisscross over him visually).

Lang uses conspicuous frames to emphasize stops on his narrative wheel. That wheel spins, stops for a frame/event, and spins again. The story begins “one summer’s day when the sun was blazing down” and concludes the following summer—”a dry summer, the earth baked hard.” One woman dies at the beginning of the story, another at the end, identically wounded, and both violated in some terrible, intimate way. Episodes are decisively punctuated. “You’re always standing in doorways,” Altar remarks to Vern, and within such frames is progress defined:

Vern kisses his girl farewell in the doorway of the assayer’s office. He is framed by two pillars (from our vantage) as he leaps onto his horse to ride away; he has a distinctive way of mounting up and is noticed, at that precise moment, by Kinch, who is riding past. Kinch’s attention passes to Beth, who is framed by two adjacent columns with an ASSAYER sign above her (two forces attract Kinch to stop) and a moment later by the door and the window in the door as she closes it. A child who hears Beth’s screams is likewise photographed between two pillars across the street (he is skipping in a circle at the time). Vern views Beth’s corpse through the door of the assayer’s cage. Frenchy Fairmont pointedly stands guard outside Altar’s door the night he meets her (he does not pass through the door, as she wearily expects, to collect the price of his protection). Vern and Frenchy approach Chuck-a-Luck between two rock columns straight out of Ufa in the Twenties.** Vern stands in the doorway watching Frenchy and Altar embrace as they are reunited, and later appears there to head off a deputy marshal’s insinuations about why there have been so many horses at the ranch lately (Vern speaks his first line in this scene offscreen; neither we nor Altar had any reason to expect him to be anywhere around there). A lookout leans through a window to report the approach of a posse just as Vern is about to question Altar concerning the brooch he has spotted on her dress. Through the same window Kinch sees Vern mounting a horse, realizes where he has seen him before, and resolves to kill him—attempting to shoot him down as he emerges from the door of a bank they are robbing….

So on and on relentlessly it goes, till the climactic scene when Vern and Altar face each other from separate doorways in the astonishingly Teutonic hall of her ranch, just before he learns who gave her Beth’s brooch. Soon thereafter, Altar and Frenchy are in the same great room, and the various outlaws converge from every direction, coming out of doors we were never even aware of previously. During the ensuing fight Altar is shot by a gunman outside the window, and after her death Vern leaves, visibly drained of life himself (albeit untouched by any bullet), shutting the door against the camera, the dead past, and his own future. All this means considerably more than that there are always doors and windows around us, and people making entrances and exits. Lang strives to make such commonplace factors of decor and behavior definitive.

If each window or entranceway is definitive as a kind of stylistic event, so ought each scene to be. Lang’s sequences are frequently joined one to the next by some direct sound and/or image link, or by dynamic contrast: in M, the master criminal begins a sentence and a sweeping hand gesture, each of which is effectively completed by his law-abiding counterpart calling a meeting of the Police Commission to order; in Die Nibelungen, a dark, almost silhouetted Hagen Tronje poises on the horizon, prepared to hurl his spear into (CUT TO) a blond, white-garbed Siegfried drinking from a pool surrounded by white birches. In Rancho Notorious Lang dissolves from Beth’s bloody hand, clawlike in death, to Kinch bathing his wounded face (more of this later). The second installment of “The Ballad of Chuck-a-Luck” ends: “And deep within him burn the fires of Hate, Murder and Revenge” and we cut to the frosted window of a barbershop where the next integral scene will take place. Locking sequences one to the next through suggested cause-and-effect progression or blatant, elemental reversals contributes—sometimes noticeably, sometimes subliminally—to the sense of fatality that imbues Lang’s films. The director himself complained that RKO’s conversion of Chuck-a-Luck into Rancho Notorious involved recutting as well as renaming the movie; it is not unlikely that Lang’s original version of the film involved more of this relentless binding of one moment in imaginative time to the next.

Of particular interest in the general shape of this peculiarly shaped movie is a passage of stunning shots unified only by the film’s balladic movement. While camped on the trail, Whitey threatens to tell other Chuck-a-Luck habitués what Kinch has done; Kinch pretends there is a rattlesnake behind his partner, and shoots him when he turns his back to look. Kinch shoots Whitey CUT TO Coyote howls against a daylight sky CUT TO Vern’s silhouette rides toward us on a sunset horizon CUT TO Vern is bending over the fallen Whitey in the dusk. No image, no information that is not dynamic and forceful, nothing as mundane as Vern dismounting from his horse upon finding Whitey, has any place in Lang’s retelling of “the old old story of Hate, Murder and Revenge.”*** A profound sense of aridity, desiccation, of abstraction in the best and poetically strongest meaning of the word, settles over the entire enterprise. Conventional realism is banished as well as conventional narrative. As the last of the film’s many lawmen escort Kinch to jail (Vern has turned him over to the law when the outlaw refused to fight him), we hear hoofbeats offscreen; the deputies react to something—still offscreen—and raise their hands; we cut to Kinch’s cohorts, whom Vern had driven off moments before, but who now sit on horseback, guns pointed steadily. These men have just ridden up at some speed, yet the pose Lang cuts to is monumentally finished, without any hint that either men or horses have just been in motion.

This principle of suspending the natural laws of physicality is freakishly escalated a few moments later in the film. Kinch and his rescuers confront Frenchy and Altar in the great hall of Chuck-a-Luck. Frenchy is warned that Wilson (George Reeves) is at the window behind him, aiming a rifle at his back; Altar glances to check and sees there is indeed a rifle, poking through the shutters. But seconds later, Vern climbs through that window, guns in hand, saying “There’s a rifle there but Wilson isn’t behind it,” and we cut to an outside vantage of Wilson lying gagged and hogtied in the dirt: Vern has managed to ride up and subdue, disarm, and bind Wilson in a matter of seconds with no one the wiser—right outside the window. Practical objections will crowd into any viewer’s mind at such a revelation, and ought to—but only as long as it takes us to realize this violation of the mundane, the conventionally plausible, is very much to the abstract point.

Lang is not above nudging us toward the primacy of the formal over the practical in Rancho Notorious. Shortly after Frenchy’s and Vern’s arrival at the ranch he gives us a shot of a servant hammering the circular dinner bell in the courtyard. Frenchy remarks that that’s certainly “good music.” Music is, of course, an integral part of the film, especially the title ballad with its unsettled rhythms and bob-and-a-wheel sort of refrain. The joke here is that Lang relates music to visual form: the circle-of the dinner bell and of the very structure of his film-ballad. He creates circles editorially, like the circuit of closeups that surround Altar as she sings, with Vern looking on desperately seeking to guess which man gave her Beth’s brooch (just espied on Altar’s dress); characteristically, Lang implicates Vern in that very circle.

The circle becomes a temporal concept as well. Standing in the film’s first doorway, a little boy complains of having nothing to do, and bats a pendular attachment on a piece of hardware, stylistically setting the film in motion. During a quest montage, Vern is seen on horseback riding ferociously in the night (and effectively contained in place within the frame despite his forward speed apparent from the streaking background) as the balladeer sings, “This thing that drives him like a whip / Will never let him rest,” and the verbal image grows into a declaration Frenchy makes to Altar: “You belong to me. You belong to every moment I’ve known you. Time holds us together, and time’s stronger than a rope.” With the men ringed round her and Lang emphasizing the circularity (the men virtually forming a necklace about Altar) through his cutting, Altar sings “Go away, young man” while lassoing Frenchy—who is very conscious of being no longer such a young man—with her green scarf and beckoning him toward her. Time in Rancho Notorious is a process of aging, of suffering, independently (Vern) and mutually (Frenchy and Altar—”Don’t ask me how old I’ll be tomorrow or I’ll ask you!”). Vern imitates Frenchy’s behavior and mannerisms, courting Altar, snapping off a quick shot over his shoulder at a coin Kinch is flipping, just as Frenchy earlier shot away a deputy’s gun. But he has already embarked on something akin to Frenchy’s career: Frenchy was started on his “lonely trail” by a killing; “Hate made me fast,” he explains to Vern, who had been told by a member of the reluctant posse from his hometown that he wasn’t fast enough with a gun; noticeably, he becomes fast enough on his quest. Altar tries to warn Frenchy to be careful, late in the film, but he realizes “You’re not talking about me—you’re talking about him” (Vern is accompanying Frenchy and the others on a bank job). As ambivalent as the performance of her song suggests, Altar attempts to confront the younger man, the younger Frenchy, to whom she’s attracted: “I wish you’d go away and come back ten years ago.”

But though time, in the form of personal history, repeats itself in Rancho Notorious, it won’t reverse. There is a flashback to Altar’s meeting with Frenchy, which includes a long and rather complex track of the two walking from Baldy Gunder’s Arcady Saloon to Altar’s room. Frenchy speaks admiringly of Altar, of knowing her from afar in the past. (Vern will likewise affect curiosity about Altar’s past—as a means of zeroing in on his obsession: who gave her the brooch?) As Frenchy says, “I often wondered what became of you,” they are passing the door of a cheap cantina, toward which Altar glances. Such a place might be her destiny one day; a contemporary of hers (Lisa Ferraday) whom Vern encounters on his quest for Chuck-a-Luck appears in the film, alcoholic and coarse-voiced, primarily as a projection of what Altar could become.**** Frenchy knows this, knows that even the later, all-powerful mistress of Chuck-a-Luck could become hopelessly vulnerable, and promises to kill her rather than let her succumb to that sort of decay. Indeed, his promise is succeeded in mere screen moments by Altar’s demise.

Relationships between the sexes are tortuous throughout the film. The romance of Beth and Vern is presented in such dewy-eyed terms that its perishability is virtually certified. Beth is associated with the dreamt-of Lost Cloud Ranch; Altar is mistress of Chuck-a-Luck, described as “a woman sometimes like ice, sometimes burning like the sun, a pipe dream in blue jeans or in a birthday dress.” Vern is brought nearer a fatal maturity through his relationship with the much more sophisticated Altar, whose encompassing of such contradictory values implies—but only implies—a means of escape from the film’s, and time’s, circuit. He pronounces the description calculatingly, hoping to mesmerize Altar into telling him what he wants to know; but there is more than a suggestion that he, too, is mesmerized by his own increasingly involuted passion. As he speaks, his hand unconsciously forms itself into a replica of Beth’s own hand in death—a form initiated by Kinch’s hand on the grill of the assayer’s cage (pointedly disembodied by Lang’s framing) as he stares down at the girl’s cleavage while she opens the safe; it passes from the murderer to the murdered, to the avenger, and finally to Altar herself as she lies dying at film’s end.

Such formalization enables Lang to refract the actions of all the characters through his almost geometrical moral grid. Like Fury‘s Joe Wilson, Man Hunt‘s Alan Thorndike, and The Big Heat‘s Dave Bannion, Vern becomes imagistically, behaviorally, and ethically indistinguishable from the men he craves revenge on. He uses Altar more coldly than Kinch used Beth (his hand moves suggestively on his hat brim, held at crotch level, as he watches Altar and Frenchy embrace), and he adopts the manner of Wilson (Chuck-a-Luck’s foremost male chauvinist pig and his prime suspect at first) and his equine terminology about breaking women to one’s will like horses. The imagery is appropriate: Altar is introduced in flashback riding on a horse-man’s back in a raucous saloon scene, and glimpsed in a subsequent flashback riding behind two proud white horses in a fine carriage provided by a wealthy admirer; Frenchy remembers her riding a horse into a hotel once to visit a mayor. Mort Geary (Jack Elam), another of the outlaws (who, incidentally, also unites the music/time/circularity motifs in a silver watch he carries—which becomes a forfeit in a rigged poker game with Altar), complains of Altar’s “ridin’ mighty high” and “wipin’ your boots on us.” We recall Altar scrupulously wiping the mud off her shoes during that flashback walk with Frenchy toward what she assumes will be another bout of mutual usage (Frenchy protecting her through the night in exchange for her favors). All her experience has taught her not to trust men’s “fancy words,” but she desperately accepts Vern’s rape of her consciousness—and in the very instant of success Vern turns away from her, in a powerful moment of self-disgust at his own seductive methods and disgust with Altar, behind whose skirts murderers and rapists have concealed themselves.

Altar is portrayed the most sympathetically among the main characters, but there is some justice in Vern’s moralistic rebuke of her. (Consistent with other negative-space dynamics in the narrative, Vern points at the bare floor before her as if she should be able to see Beth’s corpse staring up at her.) Our first sight of the present-tense Altar is a rear view—Lang’s favorite perspective for introducing his Mabuses. And Altar is a kind of Mabuse, ruling over her secret lair with absolute autonomy. The world of Rancho Notorious is Mabusian as well: After Vern learns that Kinch is his man, Lang cuts to Kinch enjoying a post-holdup drink at the saloon where Vern left the ‘gang; he is browsing over his shotglass when suddenly—and electrifyingly—Beth’s brooch slides into the frame as though by its own volition. When Frenchy and Vern arrive at the ranch in midfilm, Old Harbin (Francis J. MacDonald) tells Frenchy they knew he was coming an hour ago. The existence of a concealed lookout is scarcely out of place in a Western—as it may be in one of Lang’s modern crime films—but only in that single detail does the genre provide any reassurance for poor us in the audience. The rest of the time, Fritz Lang honors only personal, stylistic imperatives. No Western location could be as precisely or forcefully expressive as that pink, painted desert framed by die-cut boulders that extends beyond Altar and Vern as their conversation testifies to the inherent impurity of romantic transactions. And the goriest present-day Western could never approach the intuition of barbaric apocalypse contained in the ballad’s last lines:

Two men rode away from Chuck-a-Luck
And Death rode beside them on the trail
They died that day, so the legends tell:
With empty guns they fought and fell

(with empty guns!)
And so ends the tale of
Hate, Murder and Revenge!

* Henry Fonda has ruefully recalled on several occasions how Lang hovered just outside his closeups, blowing smoke in his face, even manipulating his hands just so, by laying hold of his offscreen elbows.

**While I for one wouldn’t part with these built buttes any more than I should care for documentarily genuine forest stands in Siegfrieds Tod, Lang has indicated that they represent a compromise with budgetary reality: “We had a very limited budget and decided to make everything in the studio … we didn’t have enough money for the set of the mountain top overlooking the ranch and desert, where Marlene comes to speak with Kennedy. My architect. Mr. [Wiard B.] Ihnen, who made a lot of extremely wonderful things for me on Man Hunt and others, knew about backdrops and perspectives, but it was not good and it was badly lit anyway.” (Quoted by Bogdanovich in Fritz Lang in America, p.78.)

*** In his excellent (and bewilderingly ignored) book Movie Man David Thomson has some suggestive things to say about this sort of structure in Lang’s films:
” … Although enforcing it with exceptional rigour he adopts a convention of the economical melodrama, which is to keep only the essentials. An action like the ascent of a staircase can thus be implied by a shot of the climber at the foot cut to a shot of him at the top of the stairs. This device, which is commonly accepted by audiences, assumes that the character is so much a creature of the plot that it is irrelevant to see him in anything other than a plot situation; it does not permit a chance diversion on the stairs.” (Movie Man: Stein & Day, 1967; p. 28)
And elsewhere:
“The furious rate of dangerous events is his logic of ordeal and it is equivalent to the great journeys and trials of Aeneas and Galahad. As if the narrative were centuries old it has forgotten the ordinary and stimulated the fantastic … The characters do not encounter events emotionally or intellectually but with their whole physical being, every gesture of which denotes a metaphysical generalization. Thus, in the way of the earliest movies, love, hate and fear are in a glance. Eventfulness and activity are the only signs of life and the degrees of animation and vigour are spiritual indices.” (pp. 142-143)
It is worth noting in this connection that most of the acting in Rancho Notorious is consistent with this view of characterization and performance—another source of enchantment for the viewer committed to film narrative as an experiential adventure, and another source of disenchantment for the casual viewer who judges the worth of film acting by its resemblance to a heightened naturalism, to his own everyday sense of “how it is.”

**** Whether intentionally or not, this theme is also sounded on another level, that of movie memory. Dietrich’s husky rendition of “Go Away, Young Man” for the entertainment of Chuck-a-Luck’s guests is even more like a Berliner nightclub scene than an echo of saloon songstress Dietrich in the 1939 Destry Rides Again. Lang complained, too, that Dietrich increasingly resisted the notion that she would age in the film, and made herself up to look more and more young the deeper they got into the narrative….

RANCHO NOTORIOUS (1951)
Direction: Fritz Lang. Screenplay: Daniel Taradash, after the story “Gunsight Whitman” by Silvia Richards. Cinematography: Hal Mohr. Production design: Wiard B. Ihnen; art direction: Robert Priestley. Editing: Otto Ludwig. Musical direction: Emil Newman. Songs “The Legend of Chuck-a-Luck,” “Gypsy Davey,” and “Get Away, Young Man” by Ken Darby; title ballad sung by William Lee. Production: Howard Welsch; executive: Howard Hughes (uncredited). Fidelity Pictures, for RKO Release. (89 minutes)
The players: Marlene Dietrich, Arthur Kennedy, Mel Ferrer; (hereafter in order of appearance) Gloria Henry, Lloyd Gough (unbilled), John Doucette, Lane Chandler, Forrest Taylor, Fuzzy Knight, Fred Graham, Lisa Ferraday, William Frawley, Dick Elliott, William Haade, Paul Newlan, Tom London, Francis J. MacDonald, Roger Anderson, Stuart Randall, Frank Ferguson, George Reeves, Dan Seymour, Jose Dominguez, Rodd Redwing, Jack Elam, Harry Woods, I. Stanford Jolley.

© 1976 Richard T. Jameson

A pdf of the original issue can be found here.

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