One Foot in Hell is directed by James B. Clark and written by Aaron Spelling and Sydney Boehm. It stars Alan Ladd, Don Murray, Dan O'Herlihy, Dolores Michaels, Barry Coe and Larry Gates. A CinemaScope/De Luxe Color production with music by Dominic Frontiere and cinematography by William C. Mellor. Incensed by the circumstances which led to the death of his wife and unborn child, Mitch Barrett (Ladd) plots revenge against the whole town of Blue Springs. Alan Ladd's last Western doesn't find him in the best of shape or on the best of form, but it's a most interesting and entertaining picture regardless. In a veer from the norm, Ladd is playing a man gone bad, fuelled by hatred and thirsting for revenge, Mitch Barrett assembles a small group of strays and ruffians and sets his plans in motion. He wins the trust of the town and operates behind the facade of the law. Along the way he is extremely callous, the value of life means nothing to him now, while inner fighting and romance destabilises the group until the big denouement arrives. The pace sometimes sags and there's a distinct rushed feel about the final quarter (one main character annoyingly dies off screen?!), yet there's still a lot to like here. The CinemaScope production is nice to look at, there's some very good scenes such as those involving cattle and liquid fire, while the all round nasty edge to the plotting and characterisations (Julie Reynolds' back story is a shocker) keeps it from being run of the mill. It's not the big Western send off that Ladd fans would have wanted, however it's still a recommended Western to like minded genre fans. 7/10
One Foot in Hell
One Foot in Hell
In this Western, Alan Ladd exacts revenge on a small town the best way he knows how -- by becoming sheriff.
October 27, 2020