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12 user 3 critic

Devil's Canyon (1953)

Approved | | Western | 13 August 1953 (USA)
In 1897 Arizona, an ex-marshal is sent to the territorial prison where many of his enemies, among guards and inmates alike, are eager for a chance at payback.

Director:

Alfred L. Werker (as Alfred Werker)

Writers:

Frederick Hazlitt Brennan (screenplay), Harry Essex (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Virginia Mayo ... Abby Nixon
Dale Robertson ... Billy Reynolds
Stephen McNally ... Jessie Gorman
Arthur Hunnicutt ... Frank Taggert
Robert Keith ... Warden Steve Morgan
Jay C. Flippen ... Captain Jack Wells
George J. Lewis ... Colonel Jorge Gomez
Whit Bissell ... Virgil Gates
Morris Ankrum ... Sheriff
James Bell ... Dr. Betts
William 'Bill' Phillips ... Red (as William Phillips)
Earl Holliman ... Joe
Irving Bacon ... Old Guard
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Storyline

Ex-marshal Billy Reynolds, sent to state prison for killing two men in self defense, learns that killer Jessie Gorman, brother of the two men Billy shot, is in the same prison and vows revenge. Complicating matters further is the incarceration of Gorman's girlfriend Abby who helps Gorman plan an escape while at the same time is unsuccessful hiding her feelings for Reynolds. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

500 desperate men caged-up with one woman! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 August 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Arizona Outpost See more »

Filming Locations:

Cortaro, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Earlier in the movie one of the prisoners attempts to escape by climbing a wall, but he is gunned down by a prison guard using a Gatling gun. The Gatling gun fires numerous rounds at or around the prisoner and the wall he is climbing, yet absolutely no bullet holes or impact splinters are seen. Later in the film, the same Gatling gun is fired numerous times at a wall: this time, the expected bullet holes and impact fragments are clearly evident. See more »

Quotes

Joe: It's kind of sad to see the country grow up, ain't it? People like you and me just ain't gonna know how to live in a place where killin' is illegal.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: Arizona Territory in 1897 was the last of the old frontier. The story we are about to tell is well known to historians. Names have been changed but the lust and brutality, the love and sacrifice of the people involved remain unchanged. The woman outlaw and her lovers belong now to folklore - - in 1897 they lived. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tonight there's gonna be a jailbreak, somewhere in this town…
10 February 2013 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Devil's Canyon is directed by Alfred Werker and collectively written by Frederick Hazlitt Brennan, Harry Essex, Bennett R. Cohen and Norton S. Parker. It stars Dale Robertson, Stephen McNally, Virginia Mayo, Robert Keith, Arthur Hunnicutt, Jay C. Flippen, Whit Bissell and Earl Holliman. Music is by Daniele Amfitheatrof and cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca.

Arizona 1897 and former marshal Billy Reynolds (Robertson) is forced to kill in self defence two brothers of outlaw Jesse Gorman (McNally), the man Billy had previously sent to prison. With new people enforcing new laws in town, Billy doesn't get a fair trial and is sentenced to ten years at the tough Arizona Territorial Prison; home of one Jesse Gorman! When lady outlaw Abby Dixon (Mayo), sweetheart of Gorman, is also sent to the prison, it stirs the already potent hornets nest still further…

Originally a 3D production out of RKO, boasting Natural Vision 3 - Dimension no less, Devil's Canyon can now only be viewed in Technicolor flat mode. Upon examination it's hard to believe that even in 3D this tardy Western had anything going for it, unless Mayo's pointy breasts were the selling point, or Robertson's Teddy Boy haircut? (Yes, they must have had Teddy Boy's in Arizona circa 1897!).

There's a bunch of reliable Western actors in it, director Werker was always competent and ace cinematographer Musuraca was also on board, yet the promising story is bogged down by a good hour of, well, nothingness, as the screenplay has a bunch of sweaty guys talking about stuff that doesn't advance the plot with any real distinction.

Mayo looks gorgeous, but her character is victim of a preposterous set-up and in spite of the trailer (and some misguided reviews) promising a prison of 500 desperate men in a tizzy over one woman, this really isn't the case at all. It should also be pointed out that Devil's Canyon is where the prison is, it's the unofficial name of the prison, it is not a metaphor for Mayo's private parts, as some have bizarrely suggested is the case!

On the plus side the picture begins and ends with some decent action, with the Gatling Gun coming into play at the finale, which just about lifts the film out of its stupor. Yet even here it's all very predictable and hard to feel lenient about since the previous hour has been so pointless. The prison is suitably dank and moody, Musuraca doing his best to put a bleak sense of film noir foreboding on proceedings, while costuming for the boys is of a high standard.

Utterly frustrating all told, a waste of idea and personnel, while the print shown on TV these days is scratchy and often washed out in colour. 5/10


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