Run for Cover

Screening on Film
Directed by Nicholas Ray.
With James Cagney, Viveca Lindfors, John Derek.
US, 1954, 35mm, color, 92 min.
Print source: HFA

Ray reworked the western genre several times throughout his career, and with this film, made directly following Johnny Guitar, he adapts a classic Western plot – a stranger rides into town and, through a combination of skill and intelligence, brings law and order to the uncivilized outpost – by putting his own recognizably eccentric spin on the formula. Ray pits two strangers against the trigger-happy citizens of the town, using the symbolic father/son relationship that emerges between the two men as the fraught central conflict of the film. While James Cagney’s world-weary sheriff hopes to tame the citizenry, John Derek’s headstrong young deputy chafes against the real and perceived slights he suffers at the hands of the townsfolk, and at the lessons offered by Cagney’s gruff mentor.

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Nicholas Ray. Hollywood's Last Romantic

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