Broken Lance

1954

Action / Adventure / Western

3
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 80%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 60%
IMDb Rating 7 10 2770

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Robert Wagner as Joe Devereaux
Spencer Tracy as Matt Devereaux
E.G. Marshall as Horace - The Governor
Richard Widmark as Ben Devereaux
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
707 MB
1280*502
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 36 min
P/S 3 / 4
1.46 GB
1920*752
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 36 min
P/S 3 / 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by clanciai 10 / 10

Epic family drama about pride, racism, injustice and the problem of being right without getting it.

There is much symbolism here. What on earth is the meaning of that lonely dog running across the desert in the very opening scene? Don't worry. It will come back for two more appearances, once when one of the duller boys tries to shoot it, averted by Joe, and to conclude the film with a proper exit. And it's not a dog.

The other great symbolism is indicated by the title, the broken lance, which isn't explained until in the end but is actually the major theme of the film: the racism problem between whites, Indians and Mexicans.

It takes some time before Spencer Tracy makes his entry, and when he does you are well prepared. He has already been introduced on a portrait at the governor's, an imposing self-glorious portrait that boasts his mightiness, which is torn away from him shred by shred during the course of the film by his own fallibility. But what a long and grand fall, and how great it makes this character! It could really be described as a Lear of the Western. But this is not a western. It's a family drama and more like a Greek tragedy than anything else, though masked as something of regular western, but the characters go much deeper than what they show.

Richard Widmark as the oldest son who has been misused all his life by his father is actually the villain, but you must understand him and you can't really judge him, just as Joe can't either. Joe is more complex as the youngest brother, son of an Indian woman and not of the mother of the others, and he is constantly brooding and has reasons enough for it. Robert Wagner is almost as good as Richard Widmark and Spencer Tracy, while only Jean Peters falls a little behind.

The central scene, though, and what triggers the drama in the middle of the film is the tremendous settlement between Tracy and the governor, E.G.Marshall, whom Tracy made a governor and reminds him of, but that doesn't help. You can feel Tracy's explosion within although he barely shows it, which only makes it the more tremendously awesome.

His most majestic scene though is his last one. This is Spencer Tracy's film flanked by all the others at their best, which add to make this film one of the best of all westerns, although it's much more than a western.

Reviewed by calvinnme 6 / 10

Not exactly Bonanza as far as togetherness goes

This is a western starring Spencer Tracy as the patriarch rancher Matt Devereaux who has four sons. The three sons from Spencer's first marriage are Ben (Richard Widmark), Mike (Hugh O'Brian) and Denny (Earl Holliman). When his first wife dies, Matt marries Katy Jurado, a Native American. They have a twenty five year marriage including Matt's youngest son, Joe (Robert Wagner).

The three older sons are a disappointment to Matt, and the eldest, Ben, hates his father and youngest brother. Matt rules his ranch with a iron fist, and he uses a whip with authority. Many cattle on the ranch have died because the creek water was poisoned by a copper mine. As a result, Matt rides out to the mine with all four of his sons, and together they destroy the mining equipment, injuring some of the miners in the process.

The law comes down hard on Matt for this, and somebody will have to serve jail time. Joe knows that his father would die in prison, so he serves the three year prison term. Ben refuses to go on principle, and Mike and Denny are just plain sniveling weaklings. Joe is released, and there are still problems on the home front. Ben is angry and defiant saying he worked sixteen hours a day since he was ten years old, and Matt suffers a stroke after a nasty fight with him. As a result of his incapacity, Matt signs over a piece of the ranch to each of his sons, and you know that share and share alike is just going to cause more trouble among this incongruent group.

Did I mention there is oil on the land? Who will sell out, and how will this all work out? Watch and find out. Spencer is excellent as Matt Devereaux, and his scenes with Richard Widmark are especially well done. Their arguments as father and eldest son are convincing.

This was the first film Spencer did after leaving MGM and the film is available free to AMAZON PRIME members. I'm bumping this from a 7 to a 6 because for those famililar with Fox classic films you'll probably recognize the plot as a loose western remake of a well known 40s Fox noir. That tended to reduce the suspense for me quite a bit.

Reviewed by zardoz-13 6 / 10

"Broken Lance" blows

The first of director Edward Dmytryk's four oaters, "Broken Lance" draws its title from the clash between Robert Wagner and Richard Widmark, the sons of Spencer Tracy's patriarchal figure, in ad sprawling horse opera about a cattle baron and his offspring. Joe MacDonald's Cinemascope lensing imbues this soap opera with a sprawling sense of dignity, and Dmytryk prefers to use compositions that accentuate real-life settings. Furthermore, Dmytryk was so enamored of the 2:35.1 compositional frame that he rarely cut into the various long shots that appear in this melodrama. No stranger to westerns, MacDonald lensed John Ford's "My Darling Clementine," William A. Wellman's "Yellow Sky" and Dmytryk's "Warlock." For the record, "Broken Lance" is a remake of the 1949 Edward G. Robinson contemporary melodrama "House of Strangers." This frontier yarn benefits from a superb cast and stunning scenery, but the story is hopelessly lame. "Broken Lance" concerns the twilight of the cattle industry because the Richard Murphy screenplay deals with Spencer Tracy's baron after he has made himself into a central figure influential enough to install his own personal choice for governor in the office. The plot deals with a showdown between Tracy's cattle baron and a copper mining outfit's organization. Sadly, "Broken Lance" doesn't boast enough audacious scenes to offset the long stretches of talking among the principals. Nothing surpasses the scene where Wagner pulls another man's gun and blasts a rattler poised to strike in the first part of the film. After this interesting opening, "Broken Lance" degenerates into a loquacious soap opera. Three-fourths of the action occurs in flashback as we follow Wagner after he serves a three-year stretch in prison and comes home to find everything changed with the passage of his father. Spencer Tracy's patriarchal figure Matt Devereaux has four sons. Three of them came from his first wife, while the Robert Wagner character was the product of Matt's third marriage to an Indian (Katy Jurado of "High Noon"). "Broken Lance" appropriates a social consciousness stance because it favors the emergence of Robert Wagner' half-breed adult and how he contends with his racist siblings. Richard Widmark, Hugh O'Brien, and Earl Holliman are cast as Matt's American children that he loathes as much as they hate him. The main crisis occurs when Matt and his sons discover 40 of their cattle have died from drinking from a river contaminated by a copper mine. Altogether, "Broken Lance") isn't very exciting.

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