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Blood on the Moon – 1948 Wise
- It is not the first (probably musicals), second (science fiction), third (noir) or even fourth (war films) genre most often associated with Robert Wise- but Blood on the Moon is a rock solid western. It kind of makes you wish he had done more (as far as I can tell- it is his only one). He made it at RKO in 1948.
- It stars Robert Mitchum (his first western in the archives), Robert Preston (a stout figure, charismatic- and good enough an actor to go toe to toe with Mitchum) and a nice supporting role for the always reliable Walter Brennan.
- Back to Mitchum though, he is one of the only actors to be able to pull off both the rural western and the urban noir. He is at home in both. Think of John Wayne in a noir, or Bogart in a western (he tried—both Bogey and Cagney in The Oklahoma Kid and they did not look as at home as Mitchum does).
- Preston plays the villain- and Mitchum plays Jim Garry—he’s caught in the middle of this battle between a cattlemen and settlers’ squabble (with Preston playing a profiteer). Mitchum has a great line to Preston at the 45-minute mark – “I’ve seen dogs that wouldn’t claim you for a son” before they get into this fantastic, long, brawl in a saloon.
- At the 50-minute mark Wise positions the camera right behind Brennan’s head in closeup—Brennan nods to the right the camera catches him at glance profile after he saves Mitchum and watches him leave the bar- a great shot.
- The final showdown between Preston and Mitchum is this excellent little duel in the thick brush.
- Recommend but not in the top 10 of 1948—I really want to give it a half-grade better rating because of that wonderful title- Blood on the Moon.