The Way West (Harold Hecht's The Way West) (1967)
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by A. B. Guthrie, Jr., this western follows the adventures and trials of a wagon train, led by Senator William J. Tadlock (Kirk Douglas), traveling along the Oregon Trail.
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Critic Reviews for The Way West (Harold Hecht's The Way West)
Audience Reviews for The Way West (Harold Hecht's The Way West)
I quite liked The Way West even though it's not a particularly good Western. You'd think you'd get at least one great performance considering it's big stars; Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum and Richard Widmark but no. Douglas keeps it together but his character is somewhat two dimensional, Widmark over does it somewhat and Mitchum looks like he'd rather be somewhere else (in 1967 it was probably the recording studio). It's Sally Field who steals the show in my opinion, her sassy and flirtatious Mercy McBee brings the film alive somewhat in what is, much like a caravan in the old west, slow, meandering and occasionally perilous.
I thought it might be fun to see Mitchum and Douglas reunited twenty years after Out of the Past; I couldn't have been more wrong. The Way West is an overlong, tedious western based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel, set - like Anthony Mann's infinitely superior Bend of the River - along the Oregon Trail. For all I know, the book may be wonderful, but McLagen's film of it has very little forward momentum. The three stars (Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum and Richard Widmark) struggle to find anything to get their teeth into, while the secondary characters - including an impressive Sally Field in her film début - meander through subplot after superfluous subplot. Mitchum's trademark world-weariness is so close to genuine boredom in this picture, I can only assume he spent too much time watching the rushes while making it. Beautiful to look at; a chore to watch.More
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