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Have Cheetah,Will View #158 – “The Outrage” (1964)

It’s 9:41 pm

So I caught wind that a pair of major stores,Target and Best Buy,are no longer going to sell music CDs. They are phasing out all music sales from their stores and with the downsizing of the movies at those stores,psychical media will be getting a just a little more harder to come by.
Since I don’t buy any new DVDs or Blu Rays,this won’t really effect me too much in the now but I can see how it will be a pain in the butt for film collectors in the future,especially those YouTubers whose idea of “hunting” for films is sitting back and accepting swag from the various studios. The cheetah and I are into the idea of going out to our favorite places to find a majority of the films we review here.

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The other nice little trend is I’m starting to come across Warner Brothers Archive films in the wild. A few other collectors have noticed a slight uptick in the DVDs releases when they are at their thrift stores and pawn shops. The WB Archives releases are pretty amazing,you know that I have been reviewing 4-6 films/TV series a month now. But I am finding them out at the library sales I go to such as “The Outrage” starring Paul Newman.

 

The movie opens up during a thunderstorm at night. A town’s preacher (William Shatner) is sitting a at old tired train station that is falling apart,he is joined by an prospector (Howard de Silva) who tries to talk him out of leaving. The men talk about an incident that has happened in town that has shaken the preacher’s faith.
Suddenly the doors open from what was a shuttered down station and out pops an old con man (Edward G. Robinson) who is wondering what all the talking is about. He says the train won’t be here for hours as the town isn’t even on the train’s schedule anymore.
The con man sees the preacher is upset and proceeds to needle him which causes the ire of the prospector who tells the con man to leave him alone,a man was killed yesterday in town after a trial.

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When the con man learns it was feared bandit Juan Carrasco (Paul Newman),he is astounded at why the men are so upset,Carrasco robbed and stole anything that wasn’t locked down. He mocks the preacher and prospector for their glumness and says they should be celebrating. The preacher and prospector explain that it wasn’t a open and shut case,there were a lot of questions and details that popped up during the trial.
The con man says that since the train won’t be coming soon,to him the story….
The prospectors says that it was him that found the dead man’s body as he was going to a secluded place to get some rest. There was evidence that a man and a woman were both victims of whoever ended up killing the man.
After finding the body,the prospector gets the sheriff (Albert Salmi) who then tells the judge how he and his posse found Carrasco sleeping and captured him.

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At the trial,a handcuffed to a post Carrasco then tells his side of the story,he was dozing off when a buggy carrying a Colonel (Laurence Harvey) and his wife (Claire Bloom) pass by,a breeze lifts the woman’s veil and Carrasco is struck by lust. He waits for the couple to pass him,then rides ahead and playing the dumb Mexican,tries to sell the Colonel a Aztec knife,he says he found a treasure trove in a cave. He’ll be happy to show the white man where he got it. The Colonel agrees and follows Carrasco….when he fails to reappear,the wife follows only to see that her husband has been bound and gagged.
Carrasco rapes the wife and when the demands that her husband be allowed to fight for her honoring,Carrasco agrees. The two men fight and Carrasco ends up killing the husband. Carrasco says he husband died honorably.

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In between stories the con man offers his insight into what he was heard while the preacher and prospector insist that there more then meets the eye. The con man then encourages the  story to move forward.

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The wife who was found miles away in a old shack. She is brought into town and her story is next. She says all of the story was twisted,she was raped and while it appeared that she didn’t try very hard to resist it,she did that to help save their lives. When Carrasco gets tired of them both,he rides away.
The wife goes to untie her husband explaining how glad she is that they both alive and that they can get past this terrible incident,that she loves him.She begs for her husband to understand but when he just stares at her is disgust and disdain,she kills him and runs away.

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The third story comes from an old Indian (Paul Fix) who says he is telling the husband’s version.
His story says the woman wasn’t raped at all and she and Carrasco made love while her husband was forced to watch. The woman frees the man and leaves him behind. This husband,heartbroken over his wife’s betrayal,decides to take his life and wounds himself mortally,as he lays dying,he notices the sky and nature all around him and just as he fades,a hand reaches out to the man before it goes dark….
In telling the husband’s story,its impact is so great on the old Indian that he dies in the telling of it.

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Back at the station the men sit around a fire and talk about case,three stories but which one is the truth? The con man sits for a spell and says “There wasn’t three stories,there was a fourth” while gazing hard at the the man who had started the whole story rolling,the old prospector. At first he denies knowing anything but as the con man and preacher start to up the pressure……the fourth story begins to unwind……

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The Outrage was taken directly from the famed Japanese film “Rashomon” that came out in 1950 and was written and directed by Akira Kurosawa. Kurosawa retains a screenwriting credit for “The Outrage” but the movie was directed by Martin Ritt who had directed Newman in 1963’s “Hud” who had won Oscars that year.
Newman and Ritt decided to place “Roshomon” plot,which was the telling of the same story through various eyes,into an Old West setting. It was a bit of a risk for both as The Outrage is definitely not your typical Western story of quick draws and cattle drives.
While I personally have never seen the original film,I know of the plot and I state that Ritt kept true to Kurosawa’s vision.

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The cast is pretty strong except one actor who was sorely out of place here and that was Paul Newman himself as Juan Carrasco. Quite honestly,this may have been the worst casting in Newman’s long and famous career. He comes across as the stereotype Mexican bandito with the broken English,looking filthy,drunk…now I know you must being thinking,how does the blue eyed Newman pass as a Mexican bandit? “The Outrage” was shot in black and white and it is beautiful to look at.

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Claire Bloom and Laurence Harvey as the doomed couple were interesting because while they looked the part,there is no passion between them no matter what version of the story is told. But Bloom really stands out as the wife,wrongly treated on so many levels,it takes a strong actress to convey as much emotion as her part was so multi-layered.

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The three men who bring us the story also do a fine job,Robinson is a Hollywood legend with so many great roles under his belt. de Silva’s prospector as the main storyteller is the whole to the film and much like Bloom,has show to many emotions throughout the movie. His simple man has a lot of interesting observations of the world.
Shatner as the preacher who loses and regains his faith in a matter of hours is quite good as well,his young earnest preacher whose world is shaken and then restored by a unexpected event is someone you’ll find yourself relating to especially in these days.

While not nearly as good as the original “Roshomon”,The Outrage is worth taking a look at as long as you aren’t expecting an action movie and instead get a thinking person’s western.

“The Outrage” has a run time of 1 hour 36 minutes and has no extra features.
The cheetah and I gave this film a thumbs/paw straight up.

Have you seen either “Roshomon” or “The Outrage”? If so,drop a comment below!

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Have Cheetah,Will View #158 – “The Outrage” (1964)

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