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Rancho Notorious

Arthur Kennedy  Actor Marlene Dietrich  Actor Mel Ferrer  Actor Gloria Henry  Actor Lloyd Gough  Actor William Frawley  Actor

MPAA Rating: NR
Contains:Violence,Adult Situations,Questionable for Children

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Rancho Notorious

UPC: 883316213339

Studio: Warner Bros. Digital Distribution

MPAA Rating: NR   Contains:[Violence, Adult Situations, Questionable for Children]

Summary: The original title for Rancho Notorious was Chuck-a-Luck, which is also the title of the soundtrack ballad (written by Ken Darby) which unifies the plotline, à la High Noon. Frontiersman Vern Haskell (Arthur Kennedy) wanders throughout the West in search of the man who robbed and murdered his fiancée. He is told that he'll probably find the culprits at Chuck-a-Luck, a combination horse ranch and criminal hideout overseen by saloon chanteuse Altar Keane (Marlene Dietrich). To gain entrance to Chuck-a-Luck, Haskell poses as an escaped prisoner. Keane warns him that the ranch has only one rule: "Don't ask questions." Still, he has ways of finding things out. Haskell is compelled to keep up his charade when the dirty denizens of Chuck-a-Luck plan a big bank holdup, but this has the result of exposing the killer of his girl. Director Fritz Lang had a rough time with RKO head Howard R. Hughes, who insisted upon making changes in the film that might have hurt it irreparably. The biggest argument centered over the title; Hughes complained that no one overseas would understand the meaning of Chuck-a-Luck, whereupon Lang riposted sarcastically that "I'm sure that everyone will understand Rancho Notorious." One of the principal villains was Lloyd Gough, but you'd never know it from the opening titles; Hughes, incensed that Gough had refused to testify at the HUAC "witch hunt," ordered that the blacklisted Gough's name be removed from the credits. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Category: Western

Rancho Notorious

Format: DVD

Release Date: 10/20/2009

Audio: DD1 Dolby Digital Mono

Runtime: 89 Minutes

Number of Discs: 1

Language(s) English

Tom Wiener

The third Western directed by Fritz Lang (whose personal papers were found after his death to contain dozens of paperback Western novels), Rancho Notorious was made under trying circumstances. Not only was Lang fearful that producer Howard Welsch and the studio might not let him complete the film, but star Marlene Dietrich proved a worthy adversary for the autocratic director. Working from a story idea he had developed with former collaborator Sylvia Richards, Lang and screenwriter Daniel Taradash fashioned a Langian tale of revenge featuring a male character on a quest that takes him from Wyoming to the Southwest. Another Lang signature touch was the love triangle involving Altar Keane (Dietrich), the vengeful Vern Haskell (Arthur Kennedy), and gunslinger Frenchy Fairmont (Mel Ferrer). That Dietrich was 13 years the senior of Kennedy and 16 years older than Ferrer doesn't seem to matter; at age 50 she projected believable sexual allure. Lang and Taradash skillfully take their time in getting Vern to Chuck-a-Luck, the outlaw hideout Altar maintains, weaving in flashbacks of Altar's past that establish her as a resourceful woman who is also beholden to Frenchy. Kennedy is well cast as the cowboy tortured by his thirst for revenge, and Dietrich is more iconic than natural, which suits the role just fine. One of the film's best scenes has the two of them riding away from the other outlaws for a private chat, and when it dawns on Altar that she's falling for this cowboy, she tells him to leave the ranch "and come back ten years ago." Less successful is the use of ballads written by Ken Darby to move the story along. The device seems to work only rarely in this genre, though directors never tire of it. Two films which did it successfully are Tony Richardson's Ned Kelly, with songs by Shel Silverstein, and Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller, using previously composed works by Leonard Cohen. ~ Tom Wiener, Rovi

Cast and Crew: Fritz Lang  Director 
Emil Newman  Composer (Music Score) 
Daniel Taradash  Screenwriter 
Howard Welsch  Producer 
Arthur Kennedy  Actor 
Marlene Dietrich  Actor 
Mel Ferrer  Actor 
Gloria Henry  Actor 
Lloyd Gough  Actor 
William Frawley  Actor 
Jack Elam  Actor 
Lisa Ferraday  Actor 
John Raven  Actor 
George Reeves  Actor 
Frank Ferguson  Actor 
Francis McDonald  Actor 
Dan Seymour  Actor 
John Kellogg  Actor 
Rodd Redwing  Actor 
Stuart Randall  Actor 
Roger Anderson  Actor 
Felipe Turich  Actor 
Joe Dominguez  Actor 
John Doucette  Actor 
Dick Wessel  Actor 
Lane Chandler  Actor 
William Haade  Actor 
I. Stanford Jolley  Actor 
Charlita  Actor 
Ralph Sanford  Actor 
Fuzzy Knight  Actor 
Fred Graham  Actor 
Dick Elliott  Actor 

Country: USA