6.9/10
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36 user 21 critic

Man Without a Star (1955)

Approved | | Western | 13 April 1955 (Belarus)
A drifter working as foreman for an iron-fist female rancher must chose sides between his attractive employer and the other neighboring settlers who are mistreated by her.

Director:

King Vidor

Writers:

Borden Chase (screenplay), D.D. Beauchamp (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Kirk Douglas ... Dempsey Rae
Jeanne Crain ... Reed Bowman
Claire Trevor ... Idonee
William Campbell ... Jeff Jimson
Richard Boone ... Steve Miles
Jay C. Flippen ... Strap Davis
Myrna Hansen Myrna Hansen ... Tess Cassidy
Mara Corday ... Moccasin Mary
Eddy Waller ... Tom Cassidy (as Eddy C. Waller)
Sheb Wooley ... Latigo
George Wallace ... Tom Carter
Frank Chase Frank Chase ... Little Waco
Paul Birch ... Mark Toliver
Roy Barcroft ... Sheriff Olson
William 'Bill' Phillips ... Cookie (as Wm. "Bill" Phillips)
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Storyline

Dempsey Rae, a cowboy with no clear aim in life, winds up working on a spread with a hard lady owner just arrived from the East. She needs a tough new top hand and uses all her means of persuasion to get Rae to take the job. But he doesn't like the way the other settlers are getting treated and starts to side with them, despite their introduction of the barbed wire he loathes. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

a love-bargain is like barbed-wire...fight it and you'll get hurt! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 April 1955 (Belarus) See more »

Also Known As:

Man Without a Star See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

With minor changes, the script was used for The Virginian (1962) Season One, episode fifteen, "Duel at Shiloh". See more »

Goofs

When Dempsey Rae and Jeff Jimson are rousted off the train near the beginning of the movie, they are standing in front of a boxcar that has a registration mark painted on the side indicating it was built in December 1923. However, the movie is set in the old West of the late 19th century. See more »

Quotes

[Dempsey has just given Jeff Jimson a quick-draw and gun-twirling lesson]
Jeff Jimson: Aw, Demps, when do I learn THAT?!
Dempsey Rae: You don't. That's all a lotta hogwash, kid. Look, know this: twirlin' a gun never saved a man's life. There's only one thing you gotta learn. (Pulls his gun and fires) Get it out fast! And then...put it...away...slow. Get what I mean, kid?
See more »

Connections

Remade as A Man Called Gannon (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Man Without A Star
Music by Arnold Schwarzwald (as Arnold Hughes)
Lyrics by Frederick Herbert
Vocal by Frankie Laine
See more »

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User Reviews

 
To fence or not to fence, that is the question.
24 October 2010 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Man Without A Star is directed by King Vidor and adapted by Borden Chase & D. D. Beauchamp from the Dee Linford novel. It stars Kirk Douglas, Jeanne Crain, Claire Trevor, William Campbell & Richard Boone. Photographed by Russell Metty in Technicolor around the Thousand Oaks area in California, with the title song warbled by Frankie Laine.

Dempsey Rae (Douglas) is easy going and a lover of life, so much so he has no qualms about befriending young hot head Jeff Jimson (Campbell). The pair, after a scare with the law, amble into town and find work at a ranch owned by the mysterious Reed Bowman. Who after finally showing up turns out to be a lady (Crain), with very ambitious plans. As sexual tensions start to run high, so do tempers, as the boys find themselves in the middle of a range war.

It's all very conventional stuff in the grand scheme of range war Western things, but none the less it manages to stay well above average in spite of a tricky first quarter. For the fist part Vidor and Douglas seem to be playing the film for laughs, with the actor mugging for all he is worth. Add in the wet behind the ears performance of Campbell and one wonders if this is going to be a spoof. But once the lads land in town and the girls show up (Trevor classy, Crain smouldering), the film shifts in gear and starts to get edgy with Vidor proving to have paced it wisely. The thematics of era and lifestyle changes, here signified by barbed wire, are well written into the plot. While interesting camera angles and biting photography keep the mood sexually skew whiff. Boone lifts proceedings with another fine villain performance, and Jay C. Flippen in support is as solid as he almost always was. 7/10


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