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Jubal

Director:  Delmer Daves
Year Released:  1956
Rating:  2.5

Perpetually unlucky Jubal Troop (Glenn Ford) literally stumbles his way into the home of a successful cattle rancher (Ernest Borgnine), where there's a kind of Shakespearean play going on in which one of the rancher's workers (Rod Steiger) is sweet on the boss' wife (Valerie French) and takes an immediate dislike to the New Guy. Not so much of a "standard Western" as a thinly-concealed pot-boiler, with French's character in a state of total lust (she falls for Jubal the minute she sees him) and Steiger (as Iago) given free rein to ham it up. The comparisons to Othello are appropriate - despite the fact that the theatricality of a stage production doesn't translate easily to the Wyoming locale - and there's also a notable Oedipal theme running through this, with Borgnine acting as a surrogate father to Ford which involves Ford ending his faux-father's life. I personally got a chuckle out of the too-neat conclusion, which has a doctor basically summarizing the "truth" in one sentence (everyone accepts this explanation without question), which allows Jubal, his new gal-pal and trusty confidant (Charles Bronson) a chance to mosey out of town.

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