The Lawless Breed (1953)

  • Approved
  • Genre: Western
  • Release year: 1953 (1953-01-03)
  • Running time: 83 min
  • Original Title: The Lawless Breed
  • Voted: 959
The Lawless Breed is a movie starring Rock Hudson, Julie Adams, and Mary Castle. After being released from prison, former gun-fighter John Wesley Hardin hopes to have his autobiography published in order to rehabilitate his...
1Rock HudsonJohn Wesley Hardin
2Julie AdamsRosie McCoy
3Mary CastleJane Brown
4John McIntireJ.G. Hardin,John Clements
  • A forgotten classic 2/19/2000 12:00:00 AM by shell-26 7

    It was made to a formula and revolves around most of the cliches in the Western handbook but it was hard not to enjoy this film.

    It is based on the life of the famous Texan John Wesley Hardin. His youth was shaped by the Civil War and by his preacher father. When his father forbids him to practise shooting young Wes reckons its about time to leave home and seek his fortune. Almost immediately he kills a local gunslinger and plunges into the life of a rootin tootin cowboy, gambler and outlaw.

    It has a classic opening a dignified man walking out of the prison gates, shaking hands with the warden and sniffing the air of freedom. It has an equally recognisable ending, back at the ranch to see how his wife and family have managed during the long years of incarceration.

    The final scenes of the film are lovely, it won't spoil the film to say he learned from his experiences and lived a long and happy life.

    There is nothing new in this film. Although it claims to be an autobiography, it is one of countless 1950's Westerns with a theme of a young man seeking adventure and finding redemption. The real strength of the movie is its star Rock Hudson, barrel chested and manly, who shoots, rides, kisses, gambles and drinks as well as any of his contemporaries. One of the baddies is a young Lee Van Cleef who easily steals scenes from his fellow wrong-doers.

    It won't change your life, the way "Shane" might have done but it won't hurt you to watch it, and to remember Rock Hudson in the way he should be remembered.

  • The Misunderstood Gunfighter! 5/28/2007 12:00:00 AM by bsmith5552 7

    "The Lawless Breed" attempts to tell the life story of John Wesley Hardin, the misunderstood gunfighter, from his point of view.

    The story begins with Hardin (Rock Hudson) being released from prison after serving 16 of 25 years for murder. He goes to the local newspaper and presents the editor with a hand written story of his life. The film then flashes back to his youth where young "Wes" is practicing his fast draw. His father, Preacher J.G. Hardin (John McIntyre) takes a whip to him, condemning his life style. Wes decides to leave home and pursue his dream of earning enough money to buy a small horse ranch for himself and his sweetheart Jane Brown (Mary Castle).

    The rest of the film can be summed up with the phrase, "I never killed anyone who didn't try to kill me first". He is forced to gun down gambler Gus Handley (Michael Ansara) which brings upon him the wrath of his three brothers, Ike (Hugh O'Brian), Dirk (Lee Van Cleef) and Ben (Glenn Strange).

    While trying to escape a posse, Hardin hides out with his uncle John Clements (McIntyre again) and his sons Jim (Dennis Weaver) and Joe (Richard Garland). When he returns home to fetch Jane, she is killed during his escape from the farm. Hardin takes solace in the arms of "saloon girl" Rosie (Julia Adams) whom he later marries.

    Ready to surrender to the law after his planned marriage, Hardin is double-crossed and...........................................

    Rock Hudson, on the verge of becoming a super star, turns in an excellent performance as the troubled Hardin. He plays the character over a 20 year period. This was one of his first starring roles. He benefited greatly from the direction of the veteran director Raoul Walsh who managed to expose his real talent for the first time.

    As in most of Universal's fast paced little eighty minute color westerns, there is plenty of action and beautiful Technicolor photography. It also had the benefit of a cast of recognizable supporting players, most of whom had appeared in countless "B" westerns. In addition to those already mentioned above, Steve Darrell appears as Sheriff Jenkins, Robert Anderson as Wild Bill Hickcock, Dick Wessel, Emory Parnell and I. Stanford Jolley as various bartenders, Francis Ford (brother of John) as a saloon sweeper and George Wallace as a saloon bully.

    An entertaining western.

  • Family conflict on the range 10/13/2013 12:00:00 AM by jjnxn-1 8

    Decent if a bit overdone western competently directed by Walsh. Rock Hudson, right on the cusp of big time stardom with his next film Magnificent Obsession, is solid in the lead. The always reliable Julie Adams, a most underrated talent that Hollywood never figured out how to use properly, is terrific if stuck with the thankless part of the whore with a heart of gold who is redeemed by the love of a man. John Ireland appears in a dual role, he's fine in the one, the trusted uncle and a bit much in the other as Hudson's father although with the purple prose he has to deliver who can blame him for trying to make something out of it by going over the top.

  • A light and simple biography about a feared outlaw , John Wesley Hardin , well played by Rock Hudson 6/13/2018 12:00:00 AM by ma-cortes 6

    Episodic saga based on the autobiography of outlaw John Wesley Hardin , Rock Hudson , published after being released from jail in 1896, having served seventeen years of twenty five year sentence. Hardin was an American , Old West outlaw , gunslinger and controversial folk icon .Hardin's life of crime begins with a murder in self-defense that scales into further bloodshed and flights from the law. It deals with the particular relation to his overly religious father , a stiff Pastor splendidly played by John MacIntire and his love for his step-sister , the attractive Mary Castle .Out of prison Hardin hopes to have his biography edited in order to rehabilitate his tarnished memories . Along the way Hardin falls for a saloon girl , Julie Adams , marries her, and they have a son , with whom he has strong arguments when he fears will follow in his violent footsteps .

    Decent Western about a known gunfighter, this Hardin's story is unique because it was written by the man himself. This extraordinary testament , now a collector's ítem , was published in Seguin Texas in 1896. Main cast gives acceptable acting as Rock Hudson , Julie London , Mary Castle and John McIntire in a double role. And prestigious secondaries as Lee Van Cleef , Dennis Weaver, Glenn Strange. The motion picture produced by William Alland was professionally directed by Raoul Walsh a great filmmaker who directed several films , many of them deemed classic movies . He made a lot of Westerns such as The King and 4 queens , The tall men ,Gun fury , Along the great divide, Sílver river, Distant drums,Pursued , Dark command, They died with the boots on , Big traíl and this one .

    The picture is partíally based on facts.The real John Wesley (1853-1895) was a sadistic and a ruthless murderer who killed at least 43 people .From an early age , he often got himself into trouble with the law .Pursued by lawmen for most of his life he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for murder in 1877 , in Huntsville jail . In 1879 Hardin and other convicts were stopped while attempting to steal guns from thr prison armory and he made several attemts to escape . When he was sentenced he reclaimed to have killed 42 men but newspapers of the day attributed only 27 death to him .While in prison Hardin wrote a biased autobiography and studied law. During his prison term he was convict of another manslaughter for the early shooting an inmate and given two year sentence to be served concurrently with his unexpired 25 year sentence . He was released in 1894. In August 1895,Hardin was shot to death by John Selman, himself a notorious gunman and former outlaw.Selman was arrested for murder and stood trial , though he claimed self-defense.

  • I never killed a man who didn't try to kill me first. 1/2/2012 12:00:00 AM by Spikeopath 7

    The Lawless Breed is directed by Raoul Walsh and written by William Alland (story) and Bernard Gordon (screenplay). It stars Rock Hudson, Julie Adams, John McIntire, Mary Castle, Hugh O'Brian and Dennis Weaver. Music is supervised by Joseph Gershenson and cinematography by Irving Glassberg.

    Story is based around the life of outlaw John Wesley Hardin (Hudson), itself adapted from his own memoirs. It finds Hardin released from jail and recounts his life outside of the law and his time on the run. It proclaims that Hardin was very much a victim of circumstance, his life spiralling out of control after killing a man in self defence.

    OK, forget the proud boast from the makers that this is a true story, this is Hollywood and its best so take in the film as a piece of entertainment only. Where, in truth, it's rather good stuff for the Western fan to gorge on. A tacked on "happy ending" aside, this is mostly interesting narratively speaking, and as a production it is always easy on the eye. Hardin's time on the run throws up a number of scenes to pump the adrenalin, letting some fine stunt work come to the fore in the process. Be it escaping from "Texas Rangers" laid traps, or well constructed horse races (Hardin was a well renowned gambler), Raoul Walsh and his team work real hard to keep this out of B movie territory.

    Shot in vivid Technicolor out of Andy Jauregui and Janss Conejo ranches in California (some exteriors also filmed at Vasquez Rocks), film always feels airy, something that's not exactly at one with what should be the claustrophobic feel of an outlaw constantly on the run and looking over his shoulder. There's also a big ask of the audience to accept that Hardin is pretty much indestructible, which is OK once or twice, but more?

    However, the film is ultimately about entertainment and forgiving it its irritants is not hard to do. Character interactions always remain of interest, and cast are doing more than decent work. McIntire stands out in a dual role, Hudson is stoic and Adams beguiles with her beauty and sexuality. This is one of the better productions for bringing the radiant Adams to the attention of red blooded lusters. A better pair of legs in Westerns there is not, and in one scene she induces wolf whistles and heart palpitations in equal measure. With prolific Western scorer Gershenson providing easy listening and photographer Glassberg keeping the colours rich, The Lawless Breed rounds out as a better than average viewing experience for the Western buff. 7/10

1Irving Glassbergcinematographer
2Raoul Walshdirector
3Frank Grosseditor
4John Wesley Hardinwriter
5Bernard Gordonwriter
6William Allandwriter