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RAOUL WALSH REMAKES 'HIGH SIERRA' WITH 'COLORADO TERRITORY'

Title: COLORADO TERRITORY Year: 1949 Rating: *1/2

Raoul Walsh directed the Western remake of his classic "modern" noir (yet set in a Western-like exterior setting) HIGH SIERRA, titled COLORADO TERRITORY, starring Joel McCrea and Virginia Mayo in place of Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino, and with Dorothy Malone replacing Joan Leslie, here's proof that not all capable formula's work twice...

Unlike Bogart's cool and edgy Roy Earle, a hopelessly benign Joel McCrea's Wes McQueen lacks the anti-hero of his once-outlaw hero, wanting nothing of the pivotal heist that each film centers on, and here, with a cliché dream of owning his own ranch, he's so adverse 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...  

Virginia Mayo in COLORADO TERRITORY

All around the best asset in both style and substance is Virginia Mayo as the tough girl who can handle any man, and predictably (and rather quickly) falls in love with McCrea and with the looks of the younger, more innocent secondary, younger and supposedly more attractive ingenue: basically, Mayo's too young and pretty for the cowgirl fatale... 

Although at times directed with flowing style and precision by Walsh, COLORADO TERRITORY is but a slick yet grainy postcard from someone else's idyllic holiday. Making the third sequel (also on Warner Archives), I DIED A THOUSAND TIMES, starring Jack Palance, Shelley Winters and Lori Nelson, while also paling to the original's original, is a thousand times better... but truth be told, HIGH SIERRA can be pretty corny too.  

Virginia Mayo in COLORADO TERRITORY
Virginia Mayo in COLORADO TERRITORY with John Archer
Virginia Mayo in COLORADO TERRITORY

 

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