Burt Lancaster in his biggest Outdoor Adventure Drama: Vengeance Valley!
VENGEANCE VALLEY; 1951; Studio: MGM; Director: Richard Thorpe; Cast: Burt Lancaster, Robert Walker, John Ireland, Joanne Dru, Sally Forrest
Based on a novel by Luke Short, the film follows Lancaster as Owen Daybright, foster son of a cattle rancher who helped to raise his foster father’s natural son, Lee, who is a bit of a loose cannon in many respects. Owen later takes the blame when Lee fathers a child with an unmarried woman, but when Owen stands to inherit half of their father’s ranch, Lee decides to do away with Owen and claim all of the inheritance for himself.
Set against a familiar western backdrop, a truly Shakespearean struggle between two brothers ensues that will surely lead to tragic consequences for at least one of them. Starring Lancaster just two years before his first Academy Award nomination (for 1953’s From Here to Eternity), the film has been in the public domain since 1979, when MGM failed to renew its copyright. “When you’re loyal to a man, Hewie, you’re loyal to everything about him…even his faults.”
Movie commentary provided for our recently released 2021 Vintage Westerns Calendar seen above provided by Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg. Dr. Blumberg is an educator, publisher, author, comic book and pop culture historian, and former museum curator. He is the author or co-author of Journey of the Living Dead, Zombiemania, and Howe’s Transcendental Toybox. He was the editor of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, and also writes for IGN.com and Fandom. He holds a doctorate in Communications Design from the University of Baltimore and teaches courses in everything from comics and superhero mythology to zombies to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You can find him on Twitter at @DoctoroftheDead