DECISION AT SUNDOWN (1957) is an American western film directed by Bud Boetticher and starring Randolph Scott. Noah Berry Jr., Karen Steele, and John Carroll.
RANDOLPH SCOTT as BART ALLISON
JOHN CARROLL as TATE KIMBROUGH
KAREN STEELE as LUCY SUMMERTON
VALERIE FRENCH as RUBY JAMES
NOAH BEERY JR. as SAM
ANDRE DUGGAN as SHERIFF SWEDE HANSEN
Town boss Tate Kimbrough rules the town of Sundown with an iron fist. He is getting married. Civil war veteran Bart Allison blames Kimbrough for the death of his wife. He goes to Sundown crashes the wedding and forces a showdown with Kimbrough. But under circumstances like these the truth will come out and the truth is seldom what we think.
- This is one of seven western collaborations between Randolph Scott and director Budd Boetticher. The others are: SEVEN MEN FROM NOW (1956), THE TALL T (1957), BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE (1958), WESTBOUND (1959), RIDE LONSESOME (1959), and COMANCHE STATION (1960).
- I am not quite sure where to begin. The movie is small. Not that it is too short, or the cast is small. The feel of the movie is small – almost as if it were a TV production instead of a feature film.
- The story is depressing. This is a depressing movie. Instead of walking away from this film having felt as if I had seen something I felt as if I needed to watch a comedy to get this western out of my system.
- Randolph Scott’s character Bart Allison is not likeable. This is okay he doesn’t have to play a saint in every movie but he acts as if he doesn’t even like himself. He seems to not like his own character.
- To make matters worse John Carroll as Tate Kimbrough is lame as well. We’re expected to hate this guy just because we are told he is the villain. Not that he has done anything particularly villainous. We see that he is arrogant and somewhat bossy but that is not enough to hate the guy. So what we are left with is a hero we don’t particularly like facing off against a villain we don’t particularly hate and we’re somehow supposed to care. I didn’t.
- So what about the female lead – the love interest. Well in this movie there are two and they are both love interests for the villain not the hero. Karen Steele can act and she plays her part well. But she can’t save the movie. Valerie French is nice to look at and she is probably the most sympathetic character in the film as well as having the big emotional moment during the climax. But she can’t save the movie either.
- It does have a nice performance by Noah Beery Jr. He is always a pleasure to watch. That is about all there is to like about this movie.
Of the collaborations between Scott and Boetticher this I think is the worst. It is rather disappointing. Even Boetticher himself said this movie was mediocre. Who am I to argue?
If you want to watch a good classic western go see THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960), WARLOCK (1959), or EL DORADO (1966). If you want one with Randolph Scott then see ABILENE TOWN (1946) or BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE. Just do yourself a favor and stay away from DECISION AT SUNDOWN.
On our rating scale I give DECISION AT SUNDOWN two Gray Geeks and to be honest it’s because I don’t want to go any lower for a Randolph Scott movie.
That is all for this time buckaroos. As always it has been a pleasure spending time with all of you. I thank you for taking time from your busy lives to sit and chat with me. I love you for it. As you ride off into the sunset may a cool breeze be on your brow, may your arms be around the one you love, and may you feel it can never get better than this. Yeehaw!