Watch Day of the Outlaw
- 1 hr 32 min
In the 1959 western film Day of the Outlaw, director Andre De Toth crafts a bleak tale of desperation and survival in a small Wyoming town besieged by a gang of outlaws during a harsh winter. At the center of the film is Blaise Starrett, played with rugged intensity by Robert Ryan. A tough rancher who has fought for control of the town, Blaise finds himself in a difficult position when the leader of the outlaws, Jack Bruhn (Burl Ives), takes over the town and holds everyone hostage. With the help of one of his ranch hands, Dan (Nehemiah Persoff), Blaise tries to figure out a way to save the town from the dangerous gang.
As the situation in the town becomes more desperate, tensions rise between the townspeople and the outlaws. One of the key conflicts in the film is between Blaise and Helen Crane (Tina Louise), the wife of the town doctor. Helen is caught in the middle of the conflict, torn between her loyalty to her husband and her growing feelings for Blaise. Meanwhile, Bruhn and his men are slowly losing patience with the townspeople and begin to turn to violence.
The film is notable for its bleak tone and intense, brooding atmosphere. Instead of a traditional shoot-'em-up western, De Toth creates a moody, introspective drama that explores themes of vulnerability, survival, and human nature. The characters are complex and flawed, with few easy solutions to their problems.
One of the most interesting aspects of the film is the characterization of Bruhn. Played expertly by Burl Ives, Bruhn is a complex figure who subverts expectations of a traditional outlaw leader. He is not a flashy, gun-slinging villain, but rather a cunning and calculating strategist who uses his intelligence to manipulate those around him. The film hints at a deeper backstory for Bruhn, and his motivations are left somewhat ambiguous.
Despite its dark themes and serious tone, there are moments of levity and humor throughout the film. The interplay between Ryan and Ives is particularly entertaining, with a few memorable exchanges that inject some much-needed humor into the grim proceedings.
The film's snowy, isolated setting is also a standout feature. The harsh winter landscape adds to the sense of desolation and vulnerability felt by the characters, as they are trapped in a town that is cut off from the rest of the world. The stunning black-and-white cinematography by Russell Harlan captures the beauty and isolation of the Wyoming wilderness, creating a hauntingly beautiful backdrop for the film's action.
Overall, Day of the Outlaw is a tense, thought-provoking western that subverts expectations and challenges viewers with its complex characters and bleak atmosphere. The performances are top-notch, particularly Ryan and Ives, who imbue their characters with depth and nuance. While the film may not be for everyone, those looking for a more introspective, character-driven western will find much to appreciate in this underrated gem.
Day of the Outlaw is a 1959 thriller with a runtime of 1 hour and 32 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3.