7.3/10
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32 user 24 critic

Devil's Doorway (1950)

Approved | | Romance, Western | 15 September 1950 (USA)
After the Civil War, a highly decorated Shoshone Indian veteran plans to raise cattle in Wyoming but white farmers plan to grab fertile tribal lands by pitting the whites against the Indians.

Director:

Anthony Mann

Writer:

Guy Trosper
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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Taylor ... Lance Poole
Louis Calhern ... Verne Coolan
Paula Raymond ... Orrie Masters
Marshall Thompson ... Rod MacDougall
James Mitchell ... Red Rock
Edgar Buchanan ... Zeke Carmody
Rhys Williams ... Scotty MacDougall
Spring Byington ... Mrs. Masters
James Millican ... Ike Stapleton
Bruce Cowling ... Lt. Grimes
Fritz Leiber ... Mr. Poole
Harry Antrim ... Dr. C.O. MacQuillan
Chief John Big Tree ... Thundercloud
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Stars: Mario Lanza, Joan Fontaine, Sara Montiel

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Storyline

US Army Sgt.-Major Lance Poole, a Shoshone Indian, returns home from the Civil War a highly decorated war hero, his intention being to live a quiet life on the family farm outside Big Horn in the Wyoming Territory being a cattle rancher. His family has been able to live the dream of eking out a good life off the impoverished reserve where there is little hope of that good life, in the process, while still retaining their traditional ways, being admired by the locals who know him and his family. Things have changed during his time away, anti-Indian legislation enacted in the Territory which has brought many farmers, ranchers and others to the area to homestead, which they are able to do legally on the Pooles' land since the Pooles do not have official title. With lawyer Verne Coolan being an open bigot who would not help any Shoshone even if asked, Lance turns to the only other lawyer in the area for legal advice, he learning on their first meeting that "A. Masters" is Orrie Masters, a... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

M.G.M. presents a Great Drama of Flaming Frontiers !

Genres:

Romance | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After an unsuccessful May 1950 press preview, MGM shelved the film. The grim movie was superbly made, but its uncompromising, downbeat story seemed to spell box-office disaster. After the release of the more mainstream Broken Arrow (1950) the following fall, it did get some bottom-of-the-bill bookings in neighborhood grindhouses but did little business and has remained little seen. See more »

Quotes

Lance Poole: Every Shoshone boy has to go through that. It's a test. Before a boy turns into a man, the tribe wants to know if he measures up.
Mrs. Masters: Well, what does he have to do?
Lance Poole: He's given a knife, nothing else. No food, no water. He has to go up into the mountains above the snow line... and bring back the talons of an eagle. He has three days to do it in. He has to be back on the third day before the sun goes down.
Orrie Masters: Isn't it rather cruel?
Lance Poole: It depends on your point of view. You see, Shoshoni are a small tribe. ...
See more »

Soundtracks

Indian Lament
(uncredited)
Music by André Previn
See more »

User Reviews

 
An awesome pro-Indian Western marvelously acted and masterfully realized
1 May 2013 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Sensational western , deemed as the first Hollywood film to side with the Indians , along with ¨Broken arrow¨ by Delmer Daves and starred by James Stewart . It deals with Lance Poole (offbeat cast of Robert Taylor who surprisingly is pretty well) , an Indian Navajo who won a Medal of Honor fighting at Gettysburg , goes back to his tribal territory intent on peaceful cattle ranching . Returning home and finding a bleak situation : his people living in poverty . As usual , crooked settlers and mean traders (Louis Calhern) thwart peace . Some people and State laws attempt to take possession his lands . Then Lance hires an advocate at law (Paula Marshall) . The solicitor attempting to find truce among feuding white man and Indian people.

This picture acclaimed like one of the first to deal the Indian with understanding and justice . The film contains agreeable depiction about Indian habits as it actually was , including adulthood initiations , complex mythology and peculiar culture .¨Devil's doorway¨ along with ¨Broken arrow¨ marked in the cinema field a trail of consideration and empathy toward native indigenous to North America, and lift the troublesome relationships between native and colonizers , then it would go on other films until reach its climax in the great and magnificent "Dancing with wolves" (Kevin Costner, USA 1990). Good acting by Robert Taylor as an Indian Navajo who served in Civil War and must fight to right the injustices against his people ; his perfect interpretation as "Lance Poole" remains one of the highlights in his prestigious career. Furthermore , an attractive Paula Marshall as a kind advocate and Louis Calhern as the intriguing lawyer "Verne Coolan" makes an adequate character of the evil . Support cast is frankly excellent such as Marshall Thompson as Rod MacDougall , the recently deceased James Mitchell as Red Rock , veteran Edgar Buchanan as Zeke Carmody , Rhys Williams and Scotty MacDougall and Chief John Big Tree as Thundercloud . Evocative and imaginative musical score by Daniel Amfitheatroph . This good film packs a splendid photography in atmospheric black and white by John Alton, another European -Austro-Hungarian- who emigrated US and became an excellent cameraman expert on Noir cinema as well as Nicholas Musuraca .

This top-drawer Western was stunningly realized by the master Anthony Mann , infusing the traditional Western with psychological confusion , including his characteristic use of landscape with marvelous use of outdoors which is visually memorable , including a majestic production design by Cedric Gibbons , Metro Goldwyn Mayer's (MGM) ordinary . Mann established his forte with magnificent Western almost always with James Stewart . In his beginnings he made ambitious but short-lived quality low-budget surroundings of Eagle-Lion production as ¨T-men¨ , ¨They walked by night¨ , ¨Raw deal¨ , ¨Railroaded¨ and ¨Desperate¨ . Later on , he made various Western , remarkably good , masterpieces such as ¨The furies¨ , and ¨Devil's doorway¨ and several with his habitual star , James Stewart, as ¨Winchester 73¨ , ¨Bend the river¨ and ¨The far country¨ . They are characterized by roles whose determination to stick to their guns would take them to the limits of their endurance . Others in this throughly enjoyable series include ¨Tin star ¨ and ¨Man of the West¨ is probably one of the best Western in the fifties and sixties . After the mid-50 , Mann's successes came less frequently , though directed another good Western with Victor Mature titled ¨The last frontier¨. And of course ¨Devil's doorway ¨ that turns out to be outlandish but stylishly realized , well paced , solid , meticulous , with enjoyable look , and most powerful and rightly-considered . This well acted movie is gripping every step of the way . It results to be an over-the-top western and remains consistently agreeable as well as thought-provoking . Rating : Above average , the result is a top-of-range Western . Well worth watching and it will appeal to Robert Taylor fans .


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 September 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La puerta del diablo See more »

Filming Locations:

Aspen, Colorado, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,373,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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