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Devil's Canyon (1953)

Approved | | Action, Crime, Drama | 13 August 1953 (USA)
In 1897 Arizona, an ex-marshal is sent to the territorial prison where many of his enemies, among guards and inmates alike, are eager for a chance at payback.

Director:

Alfred L. Werker (as Alfred Werker)

Writers:

Frederick Hazlitt Brennan (screenplay), Harry Essex (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Virginia Mayo ... Abby Nixon
Dale Robertson ... Billy Reynolds
Stephen McNally ... Jessie Gorman
Arthur Hunnicutt ... Frank Taggert
Robert Keith ... Warden Steve Morgan
Jay C. Flippen ... Captain Jack Wells
George J. Lewis ... Colonel Jorge Gomez
Whit Bissell ... Virgil Gates
Morris Ankrum ... Sheriff
James Bell ... Dr. Betts
William 'Bill' Phillips ... Red (as William Phillips)
Earl Holliman ... Joe
Irving Bacon ... Old Guard
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Storyline

Ex-marshal Billy Reynolds, sent to state prison for killing two men in self defense, learns that killer Jessie Gorman, brother of the two men Billy shot, is in the same prison and vows revenge. Complicating matters further is the incarceration of Gorman's girlfriend Abby who helps Gorman plan an escape while at the same time is unsuccessful hiding her feelings for Reynolds. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

500 desperate men caged-up with one woman! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 August 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Arizona Outpost See more »

Filming Locations:

Cortaro, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Earlier in the movie one of the prisoners attempts to escape by climbing a wall, but he is gunned down by a prison guard using a Gatling gun. The Gatling gun fires numerous rounds at or around the prisoner and the wall he is climbing, yet absolutely no bullet holes or impact splinters are seen. Later in the film, the same Gatling gun is fired numerous times at a wall: this time, the expected bullet holes and impact fragments are clearly evident. See more »

Quotes

Joe: It's kind of sad to see the country grow up, ain't it? People like you and me just ain't gonna know how to live in a place where killin' is illegal.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: Arizona Territory in 1897 was the last of the old frontier. The story we are about to tell is well known to historians. Names have been changed but the lust and brutality, the love and sacrifice of the people involved remain unchanged. The woman outlaw and her lovers belong now to folklore - - in 1897 they lived. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Strange prison western
1 December 2009 | by whitec-3See all my reviews

I taped Devil's Canyon when TCM screened it in November 2009 b/c another western with a historical theme (Great Day in the Morning)was next and I had plenty of tape (I'm still an analogue guy). Reasons for giving it a chance included Dale Robertson in his prime, Steve McInally who was a dependable western heavy, plus Virginia Mayo's OK, but esp. b/c RKO in its decline often made uniquely flawed but curious products.

What's strange about Devil's Canyon (besides the absence of a canyon) is the prison set, which appears only partially, but the walls appear to be enormous hewn stones that cast off strange pastel glows that change with the time of day. As a complement to these eerie atmospherics, the script and scenario range from casually crude to bluntly stupid. As a friend once said of a similar film, "It's just like a porn flick except everybody keeps their clothes on."

The film's best passage--the attempted prison break--takes advantage of the set. The escapees anticipate which doors the guards will open and ambush their entrances, eventually controlling the entire prison, which sets up Robertson's gatling gun throwdown.

Overall, the direction and editing of Devil's Canyon overall are unredeemable, but if you're not asking for much in those regards, the film's visuals have the quality of a meaningless dream.


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