Cazador de Forajidos

"The tin star"
Anthony Mann, 1957
Reparto: Henry Fonda (Morgan Hickman), Anthony Perkins (Sheriff Ben Owens), Betsy Palmer (Nora Mayfield), Michael Ray (Kip Mayfield), Lee Van Cleef (Ed McGaffey), Neville Brand (Bart Bogardus) John McIntire (Dr. McCord), Mary Webster (Millie Parker), Peter Baldwin (Zeke McGaffey), Richard Shannon (Buck Henderson), James Bell (Judge Thatcher), Howard Petrie (Harvey King) Russell Simpson (Clem Hall), Hal K. Dawson (Andy Miller)
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Aprender a ser sheriff

Henry Fonda interpreta a un cazador de recompensas, llamado Morgan Hickman, que llega a un pueblo para cobrar su última recompensa de $500. El pueblo lo acoge con frialdad a causa de su trabajo; pero Morgan le da un par de lecciones al joven sheriff (Anthony Perkins), al que predice una breve carrera por su novatez. El sheriff le pide ayuda y Morgan le da unas cuantas lecciones durante los días que tiene que permanecer en el pueblo para resolver el papeleo de la recompensa.

Morgan le enseña que la labor del sheriff no se queda en manejar el revolver, que antes de desenfundar debe darse una décima para usar el cerebro, que más importante que ser rápido es saber ganarse a la gente.

“Cazador de forajidos” es un estudio de caracteres más que una película de acción. El verdadero enemigo del sheriff no es el bandido, sino un vecino pendenciero que aspira a quitarle la estrella y que sabe manejar al gentío, sobre todo cuando está borracho. El sheriff tiene a su favor a la elite del pueblo, el médico, el banquero y el juez, y también a Morgan.

Unos bandidos son capturados por el sheriff y la multitud quiere lincharlos. El joven sheriff tiene que aprender que no tiene que enfrentarse con cien hombres, sino con uno; las masas enfebrecidas siguen teniendo una cabeza.
Jeffrey M. Anderson: One of the major complaints about the Western during its heydey was that too many of them were the same. That usually came from people who didn't bother to look beneath the surface and discover personal and artistic qualities in the films of Howard Hawks, John Ford, Fritz Lang, Raoul Walsh, Budd Boetticher, Andre de Toth, Samuel Fuller, Monte Hellman, Sergio Leone, Sam Peckinpah and others.
As a result, more self-consciously artistic, award-worthy films began to crop up, films like Shane, High Noon, The Gunfighter and The Ox-Bow Incident.
De Toth's original story wound up as The Gunfighter, and although it resulted in the pesky "B" picture maker's only Oscar nomination, he despised the end result, claiming that its highbrow ideas had nothing to do with the way things actually were.
These movies have their good qualities, but they have their noses too high in the air to understand what the air really smells like. The more down-to-earth Westerns have aged far better as a result.
Anthony Mann was one of the few who straddled both realms. On the one hand, he was responsible for a series of five Westerns with James Stewart (Winchester 73, Bend of the River, The Naked Spur, The Far Country and The Man from Laramie) that breathed new life into the genre, as well as one well-loved Gary Cooper Western (Man of the West).
But Mann eventually bowed to the pressures of wanting to be more respected and made The Tin Star, now released on DVD by Paramount.
The Tin Star never feels as if it's unfolding naturally. It's as if the mighty hand of fate guides all the action in the film. We feel preached to rather than entertained. You know you're in trouble when Anthony Perkins is cast as a young, brash and ineffective small town sheriff.
Glen Erickson:
Dudley Nichols' formulaic script has a conventional law and order story leavened with a few social messages, some progressive and others less so. We're given the ingrained 50s warning that it's a dangerous world out there and eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Henry Fonda is on hand to let us know that disloyal mayors and businessmen aren't worth a Sheriff risking his life over - but a real man does it anyway.
Nichols touches all the bases. Racial equality was big, so Fonda's Morg Hickman learns a lesson in civility from available widow Betsy Palmer. "A good Indian is a dead Indian" gets trotted out as a lie to be unmasked. Fonda is understandably bothered at first when he finds that Palmer's husband was a native American lynched because of his color. There's not much conflict here - a secondary threat surfaces in the form of two part-Indian locals who turn killers and threaten Betsy Palmer's boy. One of them is played by Lee Van Cleef in one of his typical minor appearances.
Nich Zegarak: "The Tin Star" is an above average western from a time when westerns were a dime a dozen. It's thoughtful and thought provoking and well worth a look
Patrick Naugle: The story is more character driven than action packed. Henry Fonda looks slightly exhausted as Morg, a man who has done his fair share of killing and knows the burden that comes with taking another man's life (a theme explored to better effect in Clint Eastwood's far better Unforgiven). Fonda is one of those rare types that makes acting look easy—both his stance and delivery are top rate. Anthony Perkins, on the other hand, looks slightly out of his element as Ben Owens.
Christopher Bligh: Morg Hickman (Henry Fonda) is a bounty hunter who has just run into town, with 2 guns, 2 horses and a body. He's a man who believes more in bringing his prey in dead than alive. He has come to collect his reward and notices that the town looks down on a stranger in the land. Meanwhile, the law is kept as best as it could by a temporary sheriff (Anthony Perkins) but as it turns out his authority is as temporary as his tenure as sheriff. When he approaches Hickman where he's staying outside of town, he asks him for help and Hickman is willing to take him under his wing provided that he doesn't include him in any of his decisions for Hickman has a past as a sheriff himself that he doesn't want to relive again.

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