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||IMDB Rating: 6.9/10 from PASSED votes
||Release: 02 May 1947 /
||Genre: Romance, Western
||Director: André De Toth,
||Stars: Romance, Western
||Synopsis: Violent feud between Connie Dickason, the owner of the Circle 66 ranch and rancher Frank Ivey, the self-proclaimed boss of an otherwise public grazing land.
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Veronica Lake in her memoirs said that Joel McCrea was one of the
kindest, most decent men she ever knew or worked with. When she was
writing that she was talking about Sullivan's Travels which is
certainly one of the high points in both of their careers.
Ramrod is light years from Preston Sturges. Based on a Luke Short novel
it's a pretty grim and violent film. Preston Foster is the owner of the
big spread in the neighborhood and a close ally of his is Charlie
Ruggles who has an adjoining piece of territory. Foster's taken a shine
to Ruggles daughter Veronica Lake, but she can't stand the sight of
him. When Foster bullies her fiancé out of town, Lake wants vengeance.
She's got her own piece of land now and hires Joel McCrea to run it for
her. The range war starts, but Lake thinks McCrea is too soft in his
approach. She starts some backchannel schemes of her own.
The result of this is a whole lot of dead bodies piling up. A windfall
for the coroner.
As always Joel McCrea is the moral centerpiece of the film, he's once
again the gallant western hero. Preston Foster is the town bully you
love to hate. Foster did a variation on this part again in Law and
Order a few years later.
Cast against type are Don DeFore and Charlie Ruggles. DeFore who was
usually the hero's best friend and a jovial kind of guy, is a violence
prone sort of fellow, who Lake manipulates among others. And it is hard
to believe that Charlie Ruggles ever played anyone as serious on film
before or since. Our image of him is usually the henpecked husband
opposite Mary Boland from the Thirties.
This film is significant for Lake because she married Director Andre
DeToth. DeToth claims to have been married seven times, but only three
are listed on his page at IMDb. It was not a happy union, but DeToth
did get a good performance out of his bride.
Ramrod may be one of the earliest examples of an adult western. It is
grim and violent, but fascinating.
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