THE VIOLENT MEN. Columbia, 1955. Glenn Ford, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Dianne Foster, Brian Keith. Based on the novel Smoky Valley by Donald Hamilton. Director: Rudolph Maté.


   The Violent Men, basically a B-western dressed up in A-western trappings, is based on a novel by Donald Hamilton and directed by Rudolph Maté, who distinguished himself with the photography on Vampyre, Lady from Shanghai and others, but made a rather routine director.

   This finds Maté working through the standard plot in star-studded fashion, with Edward G. Robinson as the grasping cattle baron, Barbara Stanwyck as his even-more-grasping wife, and Glenn Ford as the little rancher who gets in his way.

   Dianne Foster, an actress who never really got her due, stands out as Ford’s love interest, but it’s Brian Keith as the heavy who steals the show. Surprisingly lean, villainously mustached, he draws our attention first in a scene where everyone talks about how they want to settle this thing without violence while he sits in a corner quietly loading his gun, and caps things off near the end by publicly spurning his Mexican mistress in the middle of Main Street as he rides out to gun down Glenn Ford — an enterprise which, in movies like this, could be charitably termed ill-advised.