Number of Times Seen – Between 5-10 times (Cable, DVD, 25 Jul 2013, 14 Sep 2018 and 26 Mar 2020)
Brief Synopsis – Three strangers show up in a small town with plans to assassinate the President who has a short stopover while on his way to California.
My Take on it – This is among my favorite films and has always thrilled me ever since I first came across it by accident many years ago.
The movie has a relatively short run time yet is able to give us a very powerful story line that reverberates throughout.
The characters are developed really well and quite quickly we know who they each are, how they got to this int and more importantly, their perception on things going on.
The plot of this film is one that has been used numerous times ever since, but the choice to make things quite simple in this instance actually helps make it even more powerful and gripping throughout.
The cast of this film is superb and both Sterling Hayden and Frank Sinatra are perfectly cast against one another.
The battle of wits between them works so well and this allows us to see a clear line between good and evil as the story progresses.
The supporting cast is also excellent with James Gleason and Nancy Gates helping keep things interesting along the way.
The dialogue is written quite crisply but also succinctly and is able to help keep things moving in some great directions.
The film doesn’t try and hide the true natures of these characters and that is done via the way that they speak and act the whole way through.
This is able to keep things very black and white while showing the different perspective of good and evil in everything that happens.
The story has a very patriotic feel to it and despite giving us very minimal details about the politics of the characters, they help the viewer care so much about the leader of the free world who is never shown or described at all because we are meant to look at the position and not the man itself.
This is a very short and sweet thriller that works on numerous levels and still remain relevant and actual even after 66 years.
Bottom Line – Amazing film that despite its short length is able to give us such a powerful story line with some great characters who are more developed than on might assume. The plot is one that has been copied numerous times yet the choice to keep things simple helps keep it even more suspenseful throughout. The cast is superb and Hayden and Sinatra both are able to work against one another really well especially via the crisp dialogue. Really like the way that they show the true nature of these characters in everything that they do and by how they act throughout because it helps keep the line between black and white and good and evil very fixed throughout. The patriotic feeling of the film works really well and makes us care so much about things that might happen despite very little specific details given. Short and sweet and quite gripping the entire time. Highly Highly Recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The production company that mad the movie was Libra Productions. “Libra” is also the title of a book that is a fictionalized version of the life of Lee Harvey Oswald, also allegedly a presidential assassin.. (From IMDB)
Rating – Oscar Worthy (10/10) (no change from original review)
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