Chuck's Classics: "The Ox-Bow Incident"
Each week, N-G film reviewer Chuck Koplinski will pick a flick you should be sure to catch.
Very few films have been as economically and powerfully rendered as William Wellman's. Running just 75 minutes, this is as lean as a feature film gets, but this adaptation of Walter Van Tilberg Clark's novel about vigilante justice gone wrong resonates long after its haunting final image. Henry Fonda and Henry Morgan star as drifters wrangled into joining a posse looking for three men suspected of killing a rancher. When the men are found, impulsive decisions centered on circumstantial evidence lead to their hanging. Only afterward do the posse members realize the load their consciences will have to bear, especially when evidence surfaces that they may have been wrong.
Dana Andrews, Anthony Quinn and Francis Ford are unforgettable as the doomed men, at first defiant, then pleading and finally resigned to their fate, while Fonda personifies the posse's conscience, only heeded after it's too late. This indictment of mob hysteria still packs a devastating punch. (10:10 a.m. Thursday, Encore Westerns)
For more, check out Koplinski's blog at news-gazette.com/blogs/cinema-scoping.