Summary: Surprisingly funny and consistently entertaining, John Ford's overlooked Two Rode Together is worth another shot.
One of John Ford's more buoyant efforts, the James Stewart and Richard Widmark double header feels more Howard Hawks than Ford with its witty dialogue, fast pace and more escapist plotting.
It's propelled by the chemistry between Stewart and Widmark whose affection for each other is evident in every frame - they've got something akin to Lemmon and Matthau here in a somewhat contrived tale of a lawman (Stewart) who is roped into rounding up some Indians with his army pal (Widmark) as part of an undercover style mission. Stewart is on fine form here with his comedic chops in near constant display.
The casting of the Indian chief is an absolute shocker though - Henry Brandon who comes across as just some tanned up American with a wooden delivery. Brandon was actually from Germany but that's beside the point. While this kind of casting was acceptable at the time, it's hard to believe that it was believable even then (never mind bordering on taboo).
Two Rode Together starts off as a buddy comedy and its attempts to go straight towards the end derail its power. Had this stayed as strong as its opening half an hour promised it could've been a prototype for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Alas, Two Rode Together fades into the sunset instead of riding full charge.
Still, with all the talent on screen and behind the lens it's well worth a revisit - ideally on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Eureka's new Blu-ray via its Masters of Cinema range presents a compelling reason to do just that. Just don't be expecting The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
SPECIAL DUAL FORMAT FEATURES:
Stunning High-Definition presentation
Uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Isolated music and effects track
Rebirth A New and exclusive video essay on the film by Ford expert and scholar Tag Gallagher
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Saul Bass: 20 Iconic Film Posters book review
By Jennifer Bass and Pat Kirkham
Laurence King Publishing
September 2016, Â£19.95
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