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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aldrich's Forgotten Western.
Hooray, Pegasus are really getting their act together and are actually using decent prints for their transfers these days. This latest one is well worth rescuing from undeserved obscurity. "The Last Sunset" is another fine western that has suffered from almost criminal neglect. Any film that can boast the acting talents of Kirk Douglas, Rock Hudson, Kirk Douglas, Joseph...
Published on 17 Feb 2011 by Bob Salter

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So slow it seems to take place in real time
I'm a huge fan of Westerns, I don't have that ludicrous prejudice against older films that too many people brag about these days, and director Robert Aldrich made some fantastic films (especially "Kiss Me Deadly"), but I have to be the voice of dissent on this one. It's dull, folks.

Let's look at the positives first. The actors are all superb (Hudson's a bit...
Published 18 months ago by Runmentionable


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aldrich's Forgotten Western., 17 Feb 2011
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Sunset [Region 2] [import] (DVD)
Hooray, Pegasus are really getting their act together and are actually using decent prints for their transfers these days. This latest one is well worth rescuing from undeserved obscurity. "The Last Sunset" is another fine western that has suffered from almost criminal neglect. Any film that can boast the acting talents of Kirk Douglas, Rock Hudson, Kirk Douglas, Joseph Cotten and Dorothy Malone, and is directed by Robert Aldrich, with a screenplay by Dalton Trumbo, surely has to be worth a closer look. Aldrich was responsible for those excellent westerns "Vera Cruz", "Apache" and "Ulzana's Raid". It was not all good though, as he did make "4 For Texas", which was a rather big turkey. "The Last Sunset" is certainly one of his more intersting films. Trumbo's screenplay, based on Howard Rigsby's book "Sundown at Crazy Horse", is rich in plot twists and sexual neurosis, even daringly broaching the most forbidden love of all. Trumbo also provided the script for Douglas's fine contemporary western "Lonely are the Brave" just a short time after this film. The Eastman colour and crisp picture give it a dazzling look.

The film is set in Mexico, where Douglas's raffish outlaw O'Malley looks up an old flame played by Dorothy Malone, who lives with her alcoholic husband Breckenridge, played by Joseph Cotten, and her pretty daughter Missie played by Carol Lynley. Breckenridge enlists O'Malley's help in an epic cattle drive to Texas. O'Malley makes it clear to Breckenridege that he wants Malone back. To complicate issues, O'Malley is pursued by a vengeful lawman Dana Stribling, played by Rock Hudson, who has crossed the border to get his man. The two make an uneasy alliance to assist on the drive and settle their differences when they reach Texas. There is plenty of danger along the way, not just from hostile Yaqui indians and gringo outlaws, but also from the volatile romantic entaglements. Jealousy and anger rear their ugly heads.

Douglas gives an excellent performance as the likeable rogue, whose dark side threatens to explode at any time. He semi reprised the role a few years later in "The War Wagon" with John Wayne. The killer never lurks far beneath the surface. Hudson is much better than I expected and gives solid support as the lawman on a mission. Malone is very good as the beautiful woman who faces difficult decisions. That fine actor Joseph Cotten, does not alas get quite enough screen time to make as big an impression as he was capable of. Neville Brand and Jack Elam, who must have lived in their cowboy costumes off set, turn up in yet another western as stock heavies. The location filming is excellent, although I am unsure how much was shot in Mexico judging from the Joshua trees seen which are not found in that area. Some filming was definitely in the American south west, and the scenery is on an impressive scale. The scenes of the longhorn cattle drive are almost the equal of those in the Howard Hawks epic "Red River", the crossing of the Rio Grande being beautifully realised. We even get the unusual pleasure, if you can call it that, of hearing Kirk Douglas sing. He also whistles a very catchy tune that helps form a lost relationship theme. The whistling, unlike his singing, is clearly not his. However it is not all good! There is one scene clearly shot is the studio, that shows Lynley and Douglas lying on verdant grass by the side of a river that looks more like a scene of old Ireland, straight out of John Ford's "The Quiet Man", and certainly not the arid south west. Douglas also strangely favours a derringer gun which were notoriously inaccurate beyond about two feet. Not the sort of gun to earn a reputation as a killer of men with. But these are small matters that don't detract from a very good film. The film is worth watching just for it's powerful denouement, which is original and effective. How nice that Pegasus have now made this film more widely available. For a long time it was only available in Region 2 through expensive foreign imports. An excellent buy!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent DVD, 13 Nov 2011
This review is from: The Last Sunset [DVD] (DVD)
Pegasus continue to spoil western fans with yet another in their range of Universal westerns. As usual with this range, they've used a lovely print in original aspect ratio and the colours are glorious. Standard 2.0 sound and no extras to speak of, but the film looks fantastic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well, you see cowboys aren't very bright. They're always broke and generally they're drunk., 31 Jan 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Last Sunset [Region 2] [import] (DVD)
The Last Sunset is directed by Robert Aldrich and adapted by Dalton Trumbo from Howard Rigsby's novel Sundown at Crazy Horse. It stars Rock Hudson, Kirk Douglas, Dorothy Malone, Joseph Cotton and Carol Lynley. In support are Jack Elam, Neville Brand & James Westmoreland. The music score is by Ernest Gold, with contributions from Dimitri Tiomkin & Tomás Méndez, and Ernest Laszlo is the cinematographer. It's shot in Eastman Color by Pathe, with the locations for the shoot being Aguascalientes & Distrito Federal in Mexico.

Brendan O'Malley (Douglas) is on the run and drifts into Mexico where he arrives at the home of old flame Belle Breckenridge (Malone). She resides with her drunkard husband John (Cotton) and her daughter Melissa, they are in preparation for a cattle drive to Texas. Hot on O'Malley's heels is lawman Dana Stribling (Hudson) who has a very personal reason for getting him back for justice to be served. Making an uneasy agreement, both men join the Breckenridge's on the drive. As they near Texas the tensions start to mount, not least because Stribling is starting to court Belle and O'Malley is increasingly drawn by her daughter Missy.

Lyrical, contemplative and evocative, three words you wouldn't readily associate with the director of Ulzana's Raid, The Longest Yard and The Dirty Dozen. Yet all three words are very fitting for this underseen Robert Aldrich movie. Although containing many of the basic elements that made up the American Western film's of the 50s, The Last Sunset has a very intriguing screenplay by Trumbo from which to flourish. The story is crammed full of sexual neurosis, yearnings, regret, hate, revenge and forbidden love. If that all sounds very "Greek Tragedy" then that's probably about right, as is the film being likened to a Western done by Douglas Sirk. It is melodramatic, but it does have moments of levity and up tempo action sequences, too. It's a very rounded picture, with very well formed characters, characters very well brought to life by the mostly on form cast. All played out amongst some gorgeous scenic panorama's that Aldrich and Laszlo have managed to make seem as poetic observers to the unfolding drama.

Some of it's odd, and the film is far from flawless (Cotten is poor, Elam & Brand underused), but the little irks are easily forgiven when judging the film as a whole. Lyrical, contemplative and evocative: indeed. 8/10
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Music in The Last Sunset, 15 May 2011
This review is from: The Last Sunset [Region 2] [import] (DVD)
The music score for this film was by Ernest Gold, but the song a reviewer mentioned, "Pretty Little Girl in the Yellow Dress", was written by Dimitri Tiomkin (music)/Ned Washington (lyric).
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Acting, 21 Feb 2012
By 
Aremess "AremessUK" (Littlehampton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Sunset [DVD] (DVD)
OK - I'm a western fan, so I am biassed to a degree. However, If I don't like an item I'm quite prepared to say so.

The Last Sunset (Universal) [DVD] is not what I would call a great story line, we've seen it before told in similar fashion. What makes this one stand out is the quality of the acting especially from Kirk Douglas (I've never known another actor who can change from a warm smile to a spine-chilling cold stare with almost no movement of facial muscles). Rock Hudson and Dorothy Malone are quite good also but a young looking Carol Lynley plays a good role as Malone's daughter.

The write-up on the back of the DVD says "....gripping western with a dark twist...." Well it's not dark and you can see it coming a mile off, but it doesn't detract from the western that left me feeling "where did that 100-odd minutes go?" when it had finished. Give it 3 months and I'll be watching it again.

Well worth adding to any western fan's collection. Recommended
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Watch for the VPL, 29 Nov 2011
By 
A. W. Wilson - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Sunset [DVD] (DVD)
Bob Salters, Spike Owen and T.Symonds have all written reviews that are impossible for me to improve on. So, just a couple of pennyworth...Yes, An excellent print, Mint picture and clear sound. Let's not forget these are licenced films from Universal with access to good source material, so we have to see what other companies Pegasus decide to feature. Meantime make the most of these great quality releases. This film has not been seen for a long time, and is really worth seeing even tho perhaps it's a bit hysterical, and surely only Kirk Douglas could get away with the costume (and a "derringer"??? for heavens sake...why?). The film moves along with Hawksian touches on the cattle drive, a (very) realistic scrap between Rock/Kirk/doubles, tho they did a lot themselves and it looked real. Malone is her usual lovely self and Carol Lynley is very promising and sexy. My only grump, and it's a personal one is Aldritch's utter waste of 2 of Hollywood's greatest heavies..Brand and Elam. They are cough and spit roles that could have been played by absolulutely anyone. What a waste. Ditto Regis Toomey who could have had the role of his life. I suspect some of their footage ended on cutting room floor. On the whole, this is recomended, and read the other reviews from Bob and Spike.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So slow it seems to take place in real time, 15 Feb 2013
By 
Runmentionable "Why Be A Raisin When You Can ... (Exiled Mackem) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Sunset [DVD] (DVD)
I'm a huge fan of Westerns, I don't have that ludicrous prejudice against older films that too many people brag about these days, and director Robert Aldrich made some fantastic films (especially "Kiss Me Deadly"), but I have to be the voice of dissent on this one. It's dull, folks.

Let's look at the positives first. The actors are all superb (Hudson's a bit bland, but that's okay, as he's well cast in a role where blandness is pretty much essential). The photography is excellent, and there are unusually nasty elements (for the time) throughout.

But Lord, it's slow. It takes forever to get going. Several hours in, Douglas randomly decides to strangle a dog and I thought, wahey, we're in business, but it was a false dawn. By the time the film ended, I felt like a series of mighty pyramid-building civilisations had risen and fallen while I'd been watching it. This was a real surprise: Aldrich was an inconsistent and flawed director, but you could rarely accuse him of being dull.

The real problem, though, is the screenplay, which tries just too hard for significance and depth and consequently comes across as dated. This was a problem in a number of prestige Westerns of the era (Shane and High Noon come to mind, as does the overdone symbolism of Douglas's later "modern western", Lonely Are The Brave), but they were redeemed by the taut narration and dramatic tension which this so emphatically lacks. It's overwrought and over-ambitious.

For me, it only really came to life in the last 15 minutes or so, in which the final nasty element becomes explicit and still packs a punch even though it's not a total surprise, and the final gunfight is filmed in a distinctive manner which must have made a big impression on Sergio Leone. Other reviewers have noted this is Aldrich's "forgotten Western". There's a reason for that, pardners.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An ok movie,nothing really special., 28 May 2013
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This review is from: The Last Sunset [DVD] (DVD)
Being a Kirk douglas fan its very watchable but the wooden Rock Hudson wouldve been better played by someone a bit more sympathetic to the roll.The quality though is perfect,but dont expect much in the way of Action.Rocks films were always a bit lame.
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The Last Sunset [Region 2] [import]
The Last Sunset [Region 2] [import] by Robert Aldrich (DVD)
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