Terror in a Texas Town | Chicago Reader

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This bizarre 1958 western was the last film of one of the great low-budget stylists, Joseph H. Lewis (Gun Crazy, My Name Is Julia Ross). By this point in his career, Lewis had exhausted most of the thematic possibilities in the formula scripts he was given to work with; his answer became complete abstraction, as in the astonishing The Big Combo (1955), or a crazy mixing of archetypes, as in The Halliday Brand (1957) and this mad intermingling of the wild west and the high seas. Sterling Hayden stars as a whaler who returns to his prairie hometown to find it overrun by conniving oilmen; the climactic showdown has, to put it mildly, a new twist. An interesting example of an auteur at the end of his tether.

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