Good cast in this Western – Dale Robertson, Robert Wagner and Rory Calhoun.
The story involves
THE SILVER WHIP. 20th Century-Fox, 1953. Dale Robertson, Rory Calhoun, Robert Wagner, Kathleen Crowley, James Millican, Lola Albright. Based on the novel First Blood (1953) by Jack Schaefer. Director: Harmon Jones.
Rory Calhoun was not a Great Actor by any stretch of imagination, but within his range quite competent and even memorable on occasion. He appeared with Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum in The River of No Return
Later on he did cameos in B-movies like Angel, Hell Comes to Frogtown, Motel Hell, and Roller Blade Warriors, all of which are better than they sound. They’re worth a look, as is:
The Silver Whip, an occasionally interesting western with Calhoun as a rough but proper Sheriff, Dale Robertson as his less legal-minded but heroic buddy, and Robert Wagner as the identity-seeking youth torn between the two role models.
Directed by Harmon Jones Screen Play by Jesse L. Lasky, Jr. From a novel by Jack Schaeffer Director of Photography: Lloyd Ahern Musical Director: Lionel Newman
CAST: Dale Robertson (Race Crim), Rory Calhoun (Tom Davisson), Robert Wagner (Jess Harker), Kathleen Crowley (Kathy Riley), James Millican (Luke Bowen), Lola Albright (Waco), J.M. Kerrigan (Riley), John Kellogg (Slater), Ian MacDonald (Hank), Burt Mustin (Uncle Ben), John Ducette, Chuck Connors.
This is a strong story built around a few key action scenes, given plenty of punch by editor-turned-director Harmon Jones.
Race Crim (Robertson) is a stagecoach guard who recommends young driver Jess Harker (Robert Wagner) for his first major run. It goes horribly wrong when Slater (John Kellogg) and his gang shoot up the stage. Sheriff Tom Davisson (Calhoun) and Harker go after the gang, trying to get to them before Race, who’s out for revenge, does. This creates an interesting three-way conflict with both justice (Calhoun and Wagner) and vengeance (Robertson) going after Slater. I won’t go any further than that — this is a good film.
Dale Robertson and Rory Calhoun are terrific but the film belongs to Dale Robertson, whose change from Calhoun’s best friend and Wagner’s mentor to a bitter, obsessed rival gives The Silver Whip a lot of its strength in the last few reels. Robert Wagner seems so young — he was still three years away from The True Story Of Jesse James (1956) – I well remember him in Prince Valiant in Cinemascope – made about a year later.
The Silver Whip is out now on DVD.