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Screenwriter Niven Busch (The Postman Always Rings Twice) designed this 1947 film as the first Freudian western, and it does handle Freud's “family romance” with an unusual degree of sophistication. But the film is mainly notable as the personal expression of its director, Raoul Walsh, who here found the opportunity to treat his self-creation themes with a new, subjective intensity. The enveloping tone is horror at one's own existence, sublimely expressed through Walsh's deep-focus style, which makes a philosophical challenge of every movement through the elongated frames. With Robert Mitchum, Teresa Wright, and Judith Anderson; strikingly photographed by James Wong Howe.

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