The Lawless (1950)

The Lawless (1950)
  • 377
  • Not Rated
  • Genre: Crime
  • Release year: 1950 ()
  • Running time: 83 min
  • Original Title: The Lawless
  • Voted: 377

Former big city newsman Larry Wilder is tired of fighting the powers that be and just wants to enjoy his new life as a small-town newspaper editor. He thinks his bucolic new home will provide him with an easy and unconflicted life. But when a young Latino farmworker is goaded into a fight by racist rich boys, Wilder finds himself the only white citizen of the town willing to stand up for the boy's rights. He joins with Sunny Garcia, a staffer for a small weekly newspaper for the Hispanic workers, in trying to see justice done and possibly to save a life.

1Macdonald CareyLarry Wilder
2Gail RussellSunny Garcia
3Johnny SandsJoe Ferguson
4Lee PatrickJan Dawson
  • A great old "B" movie by 8

    ..And some of those "B"s are far better than some of the "A"s of today. Macdonald Carey is at his best here as an editor who slowly becomes involved in the conditions and prejudices against the California fruit pickers. this movie is way ahead of its time in how it depicts a small city in the grip of discrimination and fear. Gail Russell, though never a great lead, is luminous here and utterly convincing as Mac's opposite - the editor or a Mexican newspaper. I was completely caught up in and the ending is quite nerve-wracking, you cannot predict which way it is going to go. The supporting cast is also terrific and the crowd scenes and slow panning action for the dance in the country and the street scenes is amazing. I understand the director was a victim of the McCarthy witchhunt and lived out his days in England where he directed "Dirk Bogarde" in "the Servant" another great movie. Highly recommended, an 8 out of 10.

  • Finally on TCM..................a really worthwhile film by 10

    THE DIVIDING LINE originally called THE LAWLESS in the States is a brilliant film from Joseph Losey. I suppose the American title may have sounded like a Western film so they changed it for England. What it is, is a indictment of the racial emotions and fears of the 1950's in America. The cast is superb. MacDonald Carey has never been better and he has always been an under rated performer in films. Also Gail Russell gives a performance of such honesty and naturalness that you feel you are seeing her for the first time. She was always a great beauty and good leading lady but here she proves that her early death is even more tragic because of what we know she was capable of. The film is unmissable.

  • Solid programmer with a super Lee Patrick performance by 7

    Tightly paced social problem programmer is well directed by Losey. Carey was never the strongest of leading men and perhaps the film would have been better served by an actor with more gravitas in the lead but he turns in an acceptable performance. Gail Russell is fine in the limited screen time she has but her role isn't really noteworthy. The person who is underutilized is Lee Patrick as an out of town reporter, whenever she's on screen the other actors recede into the background so sharp is her presence, the mark of a truly outstanding supporting performer. The story is sadly relevant even today, how people can be swayed by mob rule and unreasoning prejudice.

  • culture clashes with workers by 7

    Pretty impressive description of the culture struggles between the white bread caucasians and Mexican workers in 1950. Right from the start, we see a confrontation between the young upper class Joe Ferguson (John Sands... where did he go, anyway...?) and the blue-collar worker Lopo Chavez (Maurice Jara in his first role.), trying to make ends meet Also in his first role is 20 year old Tab Hunter as "Frank". Nice performance by the attractive 25-year- old Gail Russell as the lead Sunny Garcia; unfortunately Russell died before 40 from a heart attack and alleged alcoholism. The story is that when reporter Jonas Creel (Herb Anderson) meets up with Sunny at a dance, he turns in a story on the fight that breaks out, and the poop hits the fan. Macdonald Carey is the union rep "Wilder" caught in the middle, along with Creel, the reporter. Then we see the fathers and sons discussing who gets what punishment, and the chase is on for one of the workers Paul Rodriguez (Lalo Rios) who may or may not have committed a serious crime. Good story. Many of these same issues are still hot-button issues today in southern California, and all along the U.S. border.

  • The Lawless (1950) by 6

    A Mexican-American fruit picker gets in a little trouble that becomes a tempest in a teapot. Losey's film appeals to my liberal sensibilities with its condemnation of mob justice, media hysteria and racial intolerance. It's an engaging story. However, it's not very elegant in its execution. The performances are very flat, no one in the entire cast stands out as particularly good or memorable. The photography and score are serviceable at best, only a few shots are interesting. And it's all handled rather clumsily, you can hear the nails being struck as the points are hammered home. I like where the film's heart is at, but similar themes are done better elsewhere. It did make me wonder when was the final instance of someone putting "Extra, extra, read all about it!" in a script unironically.

1J. Roy Huntcinematographer
2Mahlon Merrickcomposer
3Joseph Loseydirector
4William H. Pineproducer
5William C. Thomasproducer
6Daniel Mainwaringwriter