A Confederate officer hunts down a man who destroyed his family and life shortly after the Civil War. The officer finds the man in Dallas, but he has transformed himself from outlaw to a respectable citizen that is highly regarded. The officer will find it hard to find anyone who will help him gain revenge without putting his own life at risk.
"We need to get out of town without advertising it."
Stuart Heisler, director of The Lone Ranger, The Burning Hills, This is My Love, Island of Desire, Tulsa, Tokyo Joe, Chain Lightening, The Biscuit Eater, and Hitler, delivers Dallas. The storyline for this picture is pretty good with some good lines and character interactions. The acting is solid and the cast includes Gary Cooper, Ruth Roman, Steve Cochran, Raymond Massey, and Leif Erickson.
"We don't want no Cain and Abel on our souls."
I came across this on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and DVR'd it. Gary Cooper was very compelling and delivers his character well. The plot is straightforward for the genre, but the dialogue and acting is first rate. I only recommend seeing this if you're a fan of the genre.
"You'd get your pocket picked in a graveyard."
Westerns are definitely not like what they're used to anymore, and this is a prime example of it. Watching this movie is like reading a great Western novel, for there's so many things happening that it may require a second viewing. Stars Gary Cooper as an ex-confederate major Blayde Hollister, who's just escaped from a pointless hanging, with the help of an old friend who's just retiring, by the name of Wild Bill Hickok. Along with this little so-called act, is a less than experienced sheriff, recruited from Boston by the name of Martin Weatherby( Leif Erickson). Because Martin is new to the area of Dallas, and is also not a very good gun shooter, Blayde Hollister decides to pose as him, while Martin would go as his brother. Blayde's only objective for doing this is to settle an old score. There's also a subplot involving carpetbaggers, and underhanded scrupulous real estate developers involving the Marlow brothers.
What I love about this movie is that there's always one exciting thing happening after another, that there were times I was unable to keep up with it. And the action sequences are well photographed and performed which we are not accustomed in seeing in Western films these days when all they do is talk, using a measly budget. And Gary Cooper performance is just as strong and commanding as he ever was.
3 out of 4 stars
If the idea of Ruth Roman playing a Mexican doesn't make you laugh (it seems that any dark haired beauty could be cast in Hispanic parts in this era) how about platinum blonde cult actress Barbara Payton as the wife of one of the bad guys and a group of actors who are supposed to play Texans but sound nothing like them? Two years before his Oscar Winning role in "High Noon", Cooper played a variation of the same role, and in studying the two films, you really can see the difference as to what makes a film tense ("High Noon's" clock is as much of a character as the human beings in the film, while "Dallas" has little or no tension at all) and what makes it simply routine. If it wasn't for the color photography or the presence of its cast (Cooper, Massey and Reed Hadley as Wild Bill Hickock), this could have drifted into the hundreds of "B" westerns of the time, entertaining in their own right but basically forgettable. 5 Stars 2-18-13
"Colorado Territory" scenarist John Twist enlivens this routine shoot'em up with some flavorful dialogue. The scene in the stagecoach when a former unreconstructed Confederate trades places with a woman who champions the cause of the carpetbaggers benefits from the spicy dialogue. Massey makes a good, conniving villain but his plans unravel because he cannot control his trigger-happy siblings. Moreover, Cooper outsmarts him at every turn. Most of what transpires in this western is thoroughly unbelievable. The famous frontier lawman Wild Bill Hickok puts in an appearance during the first quarter-hour. The romance between Gary Cooper and Ruth Roman generates only minimal sparks. The funniest scene occurs before a gunfight when Cooper spooks one of the villains by stepping on a cat's tail. Of course, Heisler doesn't show Cooper squashing the cat's tail. Anyway, the feline cuts loose with an eldritch screech that flushes the villain out into the open to blast away at our hero. Predictably, Cooper drops the bad guy in his tracks. "King Kong"composer Max Steiner's score incorporates a great deal of traditional Warner Brothers' soundtracks.
"Dallas" opens with the villainous Marlow family rustling the cattle of Mexican rancher Don Felipe Robles(Antonio Moreno of "Seven Sinners") but Bryant Marlow (Steve Cochran of "White Heat")doesn't understand how stealing Robles' steers will help his older brother, Will Marlow (Raymond Massey of "Desperate Journey"), get the money back that he has loaned Don Felipe. "I don't buy mortages to get paid back. I buy them to foreclose." Will assures Bryant and Cullen (Zon Murray of "Hurricane Island") that "the black soil of Dallas County" will make them wealthy. Will reminds them that they have to restrain their use of violence so his evil plans can succeed. "There'll be no killing here," Will dictates. "Things won't be like they were in Georgia." Bryant and Cullen out as Don Felipe and his son Luis (Gil Donaldson of "Treasure of the Golden Condor") ride up. Don Felipe openly accuses Will and his family of rustling their cattle. "You're blaming me for all the war-bred scum in Texas?" Will is appalled by Don Felipe's implication. "It isn't my fault that Texas isn't back in the Union." Luis sees through Will's double-talk. Bryant and Cullen rein up nearby and Cullen shoots Luis in the thigh against Will's orders. Don Felipe spews venom. "Brave, strong, . . . just like lizards in dark corners." The Mexican warns Will that his lawless day are numbered because a U.S. Marshal is in route.
Boston born Martin Weatherby (Leif Ericson of "Carbine Williams") is the new marshal. He is dressed outrageously like the tin-horn that he is and doesn't even tote a six-shooter. When he arrives in Springfield, Missouri, Weatherby finds himself caught in the middle of a shoot-out between Blayde Hollister (Gary Cooper of "Sergeant York") and the legendary Wild Bill Hickox (Reed Hadley of "Now, Voyager") on main street that leaves Blayde in the dust. As it turns out, Blayde and Wild Bill staged the duel so Blayde doesn't have to worry about bounty hunters. Blayde accompanies Weatherby to Dallas, but he swaps clothes with him and impersonates him. Blayde is after Will and lulls him into a false sense of security for him. No sooner than he rides into Dallas, Blayde blows holes in Cullen and takes up with Weatherby's girl, Tonia Robles (Ruth Roman of "Champion"), who doesn't quite understand his motives.
Predictably, Blayde exacts his revenge on Will Marlow. Martin engineers a pardon for the former Confederate officer, but he hesitates to give it to Blayde after our hero steals his girl. The John Twist screenplay is about as far-fetched as a western comic book, but Cooper seems to be having fun impersonating a dude and making a fool out of the chief villain. "Dallas" is nowhere as good as either "High Noon" or "Vera Cruz," but it is still an above-average opera with a sense of humor.