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4.4 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 January 2011
Jubal is directed by Delmer Daves and adapted by Daves and Russell S. Hughes from the Paul Wellman novel, Jubal Troop. It stars Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine, Rod Steiger, Charles Bronson, Valerie French & Felicia Farr. David Raksin scores the music and Charles Lawton Jr. is the cinematographer. Out of Columbia Pictures it`s a CinemaScope/Technicolor production, and location for the shoot is Jackson Hole, The Grand Tetons, Wyoming, USA.

Jubal Troop (Ford) is found exhausted out on the range and given shelter at a nearby ranch owned by Shep Horgan (Borgnine). Shep oversees Jubal`s recovery and offers him a job as part of his ranch team. This is met with objection by Shep`s mean foreman, Pinky (Steiger), but Shep is undeterred and Jubal goes on to prove his worth in the position. Shep and Jubal get on great, but trouble is brewing because Shep`s pretty Canadian wife, Mae (French), has taken quite a shine to Jubal. This further enrages Pinky, and a hornets nest is stirred, spelling trouble for practically everyone.

Delmer Daves` (Dark Passage/Broken Arrow) Jubal is often likened to William Shakespeare`s Othello, that`s something that, whilst being flattering, is best ignored. For Jubal, and its makers, deserve credit in their own right for producing such a tight, tense, adult Western. It`s a film that`s driven by characters who are caught in a web of jealousy and suppressed emotions, with the underrated Daves bringing some psychological dimensions into the narrative. He`s also a director who knows that such a story benefits greatly by not including action and violence just for the sake of upping the tempo. He paces this film to precision, winding up the tension to breaking point, then to unleash all the pent up fury on the viewers, but even then he (correctly) chooses to keep some critical moments off the screen, gaining results far better than if stuff had actually been shown the audience (two shots in the finale are stupendously memorable).

This griping human drama is played out in front of magnificent scenery, where Daves and Lawton Jr. (3:10 to Yuma/Comanche Station) utilize the CinemaScope and Technicolor facilities to their maximum potential. Filling the widescreen frame with majestic mountains,vibrant slanted forests and rolling grassy hills. The Grand Tetons location had previously been used in other notable Western movies, such as The Big Trail, The Big Sky and famously for George Stevens` Shane. While post Jubal it served a considerable purpose for Dances with Wolves. All of this grandeur for the eyes is boosted by Raksin`s (Laura/Fallen Angel) score, with gentle swirls for the tender Jubal/Naomi thread and rushes for the posse sequences, it`s an arrangement very at one with the mood and tempo of the story.

The cast list oozes star power, and gets performances to match. Ford is a master at roles calling for underplayed intensity, and that`s what he gives Jubal Troop. Keeping the characters cards close to his chest in the beginning, Ford pitches it perfect as the emotionally bottled up drifter. Borgnine, a year after his Oscar win for Marty, is perfect foil to Ford`s calmness, he`s in turn big and boisterous, often crude, yet under the bluster is a sweet and honest man. And there in the middle of the three men is Steiger, bringing the method. Pinky is brooding, devious and one pulse beat away from being psychotic, but Steiger, with a menacing drawl flowing out of his mouth, is creepily mannered. Steiger and Daves clashed other how to play Pinky, the director wanting something more akin to Ford`s serene like role play, but Steiger wanted it played bitter and coiled spring like; the actor getting his way when producer William Fadiman sided with him.

Valerie French (Decision at Sundown) looks beautiful in Technicolor, and in spite of an accent problem, does a neat line in how to play a smoldering fuse in a box of fire crackers. Felicia Farr (The Last Wagon) is the polar opposite, religiously comely and virginal, she`s a touch underused but the play off with French impacts well in the story. Key support goes to Charles Bronson (The Magnificent Seven) as loyal friend to Jubal, Reb. Played with laid back machismo, it`s something of what would become the trademark Bronson performance. Other notables in the support cast are the always value for money Noah Beery Jr. (Wagons West), John Dierkes (The Hanging Tree) and Jack Elam (The Man From Laramie).

Damn fine film that`s worthy of being sought out by those interested in the best of the 50s slew of Adult Westerns. 8.5/10
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on 13 May 2015
Please note that the following review is for the region A locked Criterion Collection Blu ray release of the classic 1956 western Jubal. As is the case with a handful of other Criterion titles I managed to bypass the region coding on my UK Panasonic BD80 by stopping the disc on the 'mismatched region' screen and pressing top menu on the remote control. As far as I know this trick only works on Panasonic equipment and on certain Blu rays from particular labels.
It is always refreshing to discover a vintage film I never knew existed and thoroughly enjoy it as much as life long favourites. Delmer Daves' 1956 produced Jubul falls perfectly into this bracket making it one of my finest blind buys and a movie I will definatly be revisiting in the not too distant future.

Synopsis:
Whilst traveling through the mountains of Wyoming, prominent but good natured ranch owner Shep Horgan(Ernest Borgnine)happens across Jubal Troop(Glen Ford) a loner with a chequered history and air of mystery surrounding him who travels from ranch to ranch working either sheep or cattle but who has fallen on hard times, frozen, hungry and practically unable to stand. Being an honest and kind hearted soul, Shep picks up Jubal and takes him back to his ranch with the offer of joining his three man team of cowboys to work and maintain his sprawling cattle estate. Much to the dislike of Shep's lead cowhand Pinky(Rod Steiger), Shep decides to make Jubal foreman despite his relatively short employment, liking his honesty, calm demeanor and straight forward way of talking. Jubal reluctantly accepts the job instantly making a sworn enemy of Pinky despite the easy going nature of the other two cowhands whilst at the same time attracting the unwanted attention of Shep's beautiful Canadian wife Mae(Valerie French). Bored, lonely and homesick, Mae is constantly irritated by her husband's male chauvinistic ways and imagines the rugged Jubal to be the perfect escapism. Of course our moral title character refuses her advances ("lets stop this before it begins") as he now thinks of Shep as a firm friend and the only man he can trust since the passing away of his father. Mae isn't going to take no for an answer and carries on with her persistent advances all under the watchful eye of the deeply jealous Pinky who would do anything to disrupt the trust between Jubal and Shep resulting in a finalé that boils to a crescendo of lies, mistrust and ultimately violence.
Made a year before Delmer Daves' far more famous 3:10 to Yuma, Jubal is something of a forgotten gem. Basically a western reworking of Shakespeare's Othello, Jubal may have a traditional and fairly familiar storyline but is lifted above other entries in the genre thanks collectively to a number of main components. First and foremost this is one gorgeous looking movie. Shot in ultra wide 2.55:1 Cinemascope and Technicolor, the scenery and Wyoming locations are breathtakingly beautiful and the compositions awe inspiring with a wonderful feeling of wide open space and solitude. For a western that relies heavily on dialogue and characters as opposed to shootouts and horse chases the script and cast had to be strong too. Well Jubal doesent disappoint in this area either with some fine work from all involved rooting the emotional core of the movie and western fans will enjoy seeing early roles for both Charles Bronson and Jack Elam. Delmar Daves' direction is solid and dependable proving himself to be a talented filmmaker and whilst the pace is inclined to amble rather than gallop the narrative never comes across as slow or ponderous with each scene worthwhile and imperative to the story with a wonderful flow, turning Jubal into an intriguing, suspenseful and engaging movie with much to recommend.

Picture:
Jubal arrives on Blu ray in the firm and capable hands of American label Criterion with a newly restored 4k digital transfer from the original 35mm negative. Presented in an AVC encoded MPEG 4 1080p rendering and framed at the correct Cinemascope dimensions of 2.55:1 the resulting image is extremely impressive. Fine detail is absolutely radiant especially during the bright sunlit outdoor segments which also boast strong textures and fantastic depth for the picturesque Wyoming locales. Close ups are also nigh on perfect for faces and clothing but interiors are slightly softer in appearance whilst still possessing pleasing clarity. The colour palette is for the most part fine but a handful of scenes such as when Shep asks Jubal about women can look a little faded with some very low key primaries and some sections have an odd yellow tint. Contrast is strong as are black levels which are deep and inky and shadow detail is often revealing in low lit passages. The most important aspect of this transfer is the grain structure which thankfully has been left completely intact with no DNR resulting in natural and organic image which looks extremely filmic and true to source. Despite the high quality of this transfer there are a few anomalies which are most likely down to the original shooting with some slight curvature to frame edges and a slightly horizontally stretched image but with no print damage or other age related problems this is another classy transfer from Criterion.

Sound:
The soundtrack offered up on this Blu ray was an extremely welcome suprise. Jubal's original stereo mix has been presented here in a wonderfully robust uncompressed 2.0 channel LPCM track. For the record I played this back utilising a DTS NEO 6 decoder as I aways do for stereo movies. The biggest advantage of this lossless mix is the music which sounds rich and pure with a strong even spread throughout the front three channels and depth is readily apparent making it easy to place where certain instruments are in the soundstage. There is the occasional use the stereo width to enhance the onscreen action with a few minor separations from offscreen characters talking through to shutting doors and horse hooves and while these are never that distinct they do add a decent amount of immersion that wouldn't be noticeable in a monaural presentation. Dialogue is clean, clear and intelligible throughout and foley effects are precise and natural enough considering this is a vintage title. As this is a stereo only mix the rear speakers hardly come in to play apart from adding support to the score and low end is reasonable, mostly noticeable in the rip roaring western score. There is no background hiss and Criterion have cleaned up any age related issues. Very impressive for sure and a real delight to listen to.

Extras:
Strangely for a Criterion release, a company who normally lavish special features on almost all of their releases, Jubal is completely devoid of any supplements, not even a trailer. Suprising for sure and a little frustrating but in terms of a Criterion edition this is fairly budget priced and does include one of their colourful, glossy insert booklets.

Conclusion:
Jubal is a truly neglected classic of the genre that I'm sure has been overlooked due to the 1950s producing so many other great westerns. Delmer Daves' movie is exquisite to look at with some beautiful vistas on display which this new 4k transfer handles with ease. The uncompressed stereo soundtrack is also fantastic adding depth and emotion to an already powerful movie and proving that vintage titles given the lossless treatment can sound unbelievable. The lack of extras especially for a Criterion Blu ray was disappointing to say the least but thanks to the AV presentation I can wholeheartedly recommend Jubal and I hope this new Blu ray release introduces new fans who will appreciate this movie as much as I did.
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This powerful western drama directed by the admirable Delmer Daves, is a none too thinly disguised reworking of Shakespeare's "Othello". Ernest Borgnine still in the afterglow of his oscar for "Marty"(55) plays the role of Othello. Rod Steiger is a brooding Iago. "He don't like nobody, not even himself". Valerie French plays the temptress Desdemona and Glenn Ford plays our hero Cassio.

In the film Shep Horgan played by Borgnine finds a badly injured Jubal Troop played by Ford, and takes him back to his ranch. Horgan takes a shine to him and he is later offered a job at the ranch which he takes. Matters become complicated when Horgan's unfaithful wife played by French, also takes a more carnal shine to Troop, who then replaces Pinky another ranch cowhand, played by Steiger, as the object of her dangerous affections. All these shennanigans turn Pinky apoplectic with rage. Never a happy bunny at the best of times he begins to go very bad indeed. So bad that he does not require a black hat to identify him. Jealousy and anger fan the flames of tragedy. A wicked web of lies and intrigue is spun to trap the unsuspecting Jubal, and cause a shattering rift between himself and his great friend Horgan. We head inexorably toward death and redemption for some.

The film boasts an unusually strong cast who all give strong performances. Borgnine maintains his powerful good form and Ford is reliable as ever. Steiger perhaps steals the show as the villainous Pinky, a juicy role very similar to his Jud Fry in "Oklahoma"(55). Charles Bronson offers strong support as a stalwart friend of Ford, and Noah Beery Jr appears yet again in one of his decent reliable cowhand roles. It is a somewhat dark psychodrama and not what you could describe as a traditional western. But it is very, very good like much of Daves excellent canon of work. I have given it four stars but it comes very close to five. Highly recommended.
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on 26 July 2015
If you would like a change from John Ford's Monument Valley backdrops, here's a western with the Grand Tetons and what looks like the Snake River, very handsomely shot. It's not a bad movie but there is a flaw, I think. The plot requires the protagonist, the itinerant cowboy Jubal Troop (Glenn Ford) to be the object of desire of two very different women -- Mae (Valerie French), the wife of his boss, the cattle-rancher Shep Horgan (Ernest Borgnine), and Naomi (Felicia Farr), the daughter of a group of religious pilgrims seeking the Promised Land somewhere around Pocatello, Idaho. Jubal likes his boss, who has in effect taken him in and made him his foreman on the ranch, and while he clearly sees Mae's attractions, he resists them and is more drawn to the innocent and sweet Naomi. Mae isn't pleased, and neither is Pinky (Rod Steiger), Mae's former lover and a ranch-hand who had expected to be made foreman himself. The problem is that neither woman is remotely convincing, and the fault is probably more in the writing than in the abilities of the actresses. They are made into stereotypes, and neither is capable of breaking out to create a convincing, humanly interesting character. That's a serious flaw, but the main interest of the movie lies elsewhere.

Jubal's ascension to foreman sets up the parallel with Shakespeare's "Othello," which clearly underlies the movie to some extent. Pinky becomes the Iago figure who convinces the good-natured but insensitive Shep that his wife is sleeping with Jubal. Like Othello, Shep becomes enraged and is out for blood. To make matters worse, Mae, unlike Desdemona, lies to her husband about Jubal because she's angry at Jubal for rejecting her. I'll say no more -- it all sets up for an exciting finish. There are strong performances from Ford, Borgnine, and Steiger, although Steiger's accent -- he's supposedly Southern -- isn't like any accent I've ever heard, and it sounds mannered. But the performance isn't, and he's entirely credible as a disappointed and jealous man. Ford is fine as the quiet and sensitive Jubal, who will only use violence when there's no alternative, but the most interesting performance, I think, comes from Borgnine -- he's generous, amiable, and trusting, but, at the same time totally insensitive and thus has unwittingly alienated the affections of his wife, whom he treats as a prized possession. He calls her a "heifer" at one point. When he's deceived by Pinky and his wife, he has to become murderously angry -- and he very credibly does.

The smaller roles are well-taken -- the youngish Charles Bronson has a nice turn as a wanderer who becomes an ally of Jubal, and the actors who play the members of the pilgrim group are fine too. It's fun to watch -- too bad the women didn't get a better deal from the screenwriters and that they weren't perhaps more strongly cast.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 October 2011
Columbia Pictures presents "JUBAL" (1956) - (100 min/Color) -- Starring: Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine, Rod Steiger, Valerie French, Felicia Farr, Noah Beery Jr. & Charles Bronson

Directed by Delmer Daves

Likable (and extremely gullible) ranch owner Shep Horgan (Ernest Borgnine) hires handsome drifter Jubal Troop (Glenn Ford) as a cowhand, much to the delight of Horgan's hedonistic wife Mae (Valerie French). But psychotic ranch hand Pinky Pinkum (Rod Steiger) is envious of Jubal and hoping to enjoy Mae's sexual favors himself - ergo, he sows the seeds of suspicion in Horgan's mind by falsely accusing Jubal of messing around with Mae. Within the maelstrom of emotions that develop, the virtuous Naomi Hoktor (Felicia Farr) comes to the aid of Jubal

Although often considered to be (Shakespeare's) `Othello Out West', Jubal is officially based on a novel by Paul I. Wellman.

Solid dramatic western - a blueprint for many 50s westerns

BIOS:
1. Delmer Daves [Director]
Date of Birth: 24 July 1904 - San Francisco, California
Date of Death: 17 August 1977 - La Jolla, California

2. Glenn Ford (aka: Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford)
Date of Birth: 1 May 1916 - Sainte-Christine, Quebec, Canada
Date of Death: 30 August 2006 - Beverly Hills, Los Angeles County, California

3. Ernest Borgnine
Date of Birth: 24 January 1917 - Hamden, Connecticut
Date of Death: Still Living

4. Rod Steiger
Date of Birth: 14 April 1925 - Westhampton, New York
Date of Death: 9 July 2002 - Los Angeles, California

5. Valerie French [aka: Valerie Harrison]
Date of Birth: 11 March 1928 - London, England, UK
Date of Death: 3 November 1990 - New York City, New York

6. Felicia Farr [aka: Olive Dines]
Date of Birth: 4 October 1932 - Westchester County, New York
Date of Death: Still Living

7. Noah Beery Jr.
Date of Birth: 10 August 1913 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 1 November 1994 - Tehachapi, California

8. Charles Bronson [aka: Charles Dennis Buchinsky]
Date of Birth: 3 November 1921 - Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania
Date of Death: 30 August 2003 - Los Angeles, California

9. Jack Elam
Date of Birth: 13 November 1920 - Miami, Gila, Arizona
Date of Death: 20 October 2003 - Ashland, Oregon

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 4 Stars
Performance: 4 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]

Total Time: 100 min on DVD ~ Columbia Pictures ~ (April 5, 2005)
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on 20 February 2012
Jubal is still a very good picture, it's more like an drama than an regular western. I think Jubal and the story in it however is to short but on the other hand the most common length at the time often was around 90 minutes. Jubal has a great cast with splendid performances of Rod Steiger and Glenn Ford among others. The picture is awsome photographed in a lovely landscape.
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on 13 March 2013
This is an unusual western movie inasmuch as it is based on a "love story" that did not go the way we expected. Glenn Ford plays the hero as usual, but does not gun down competitors. There is some great acting there, but not quite what we expected. It probably grows on you at the second and third viewing
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on 6 June 2014
ONE OF THE BEST WESTERNS IN MY COLLECTION.
THE STORY IS MORE ABOUT PEOPLE THAN CATTLE, AND THE HUMAN CHARACTERS ARE PLAYED BY REAL STRONG ACTORS FROM THAT ERA. AND IT`S A BONUS TO WATCH A YOUNG CHARLES BRONSON SHOWS UP, ADDING SOME
EXTRA TO THIS DRAMA.
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on 17 March 2013
I am pleased to own a copy of this fine movie. The photography and scenery are breathtaking and it is a gripping story. The gentle-mannered Jubal triumphs over the mischief making of others - a reassuring message for those who experience it in real life.
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on 10 March 2014
An above average western with strong performances by a top line cast featuring Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine, Rod Steiger and Charles Bronson, amongst others. A solid story and some wonderful cinematography. Recommended.
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