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SECOND RAOUL WALSH 'HIGH SIERRA' IN 'COLORADO TERRITORY'

Virginia Mayo as Colorado in Colorado Territory circa 1949
HIGH SIERRA is not only a great movie, afterward making second-billed Humphrey Bogart a first-billed movie star as a convict, freed from what was supposed to be a much longer prison term, joining with a gang of less savvy thieves for a big score planned by a sick and old, once important honcho — it's also a fantastic story (by W. R. Burnett). But with the same director, Raoul Walsh, directing the Western remake starring Joel McCrea and Virginia Mayo, there's proof that not all capable formula's work every time...

Rare Blue Cover SCORE: **
Unlike Bogart's cool and edgy Roy Earle... dull, lanky and hopelessly benign Joel McCrea's Wes McQueen lacks the anti of his once-outlaw hero. Wanting nothing of the pivotal heist that each film centers on, and with a cliché dream of owning his own ranch, being so allergic to his fellow outlaws he's supposed to mentor, the entire purpose is chalked down to a lackadaisical melodrama with long bouts of dialogue — superfluous distraction in place of of essential action...

The words don't build the characters while the sporadic gunfights doesn't move the story. The best asset is Virginia Mayo as the tough girl who can handle any man, and predictably (and rather quickly) falls in love with McCrea. She's got the looks of the younger, more innocent secondary ingenue that Bogart fell in love with from SIERRA but lacks the tough-but-tender edge of b-girl Ida Lupino, whom she's replacing, and there's little to no chemistry between them. Although directed with flowing style and precision by the otherwise master, Walsh, COLORADO TERRITORY is but a slick yet grainy postcard from someone else's idyllic holiday. The third sequel (also on Warner Archives), I DIED A THOUSAND TIMES, starring Jack Palance and Shelley Winters, while also paling to the original's original, is a thousand times better than this.
Virginia Mayo Colorado Territory Virginia Mayo as Colorado Carson in Colorado Territory
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