The Lusty Men

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Showtimes updated on Tuesday evenings

The Lusty Men

Presented on 35mm

Series Curator and JBFC Programming Coordinator Ian LoCascio writes,

“While some of Nicholas Ray’s films, like Rebel Without a Cause (playing on 35mm in June), have become bona fide classics, others have remained woefully underseen in the decades since their release. The Lusty Men, one of Ray’s finest, is one such example. The film stars Robert Mitchum as Jeff McCloud, an aging rodeo cowboy who quits the rodeo circuit after nearly being killed in a bull riding accident. Broke and aimless, McCloud takes Wes Merritt, a novice rodeo cowboy, under his wing and, for a 50/50 split, agrees to train him; a Faustian bargain which brings McCloud back to the industry which nearly broke him. A never-better Susan Hayward co-stars as Merritt’s wife, bringing an unwavering voice of reason to the film’s cadre of lusty men. Though Mitchum is predictably excellent and, as Wes Merritt, Arthur Kennedy holds his own—it’s Hayward who gives the film its beating heart and who, in the end, steals the show. There’s a lingering mournfulness to The Lusty Men, as Ray presents the world of bull riding as a microcosm of America itself – a seductive promise of fortune and glory, wedded to a nearly unwinnable game of chance. But Ray, ever a humanist, resists any impulse to merely play the cynic, and the film concludes on a stunning note of rugged grace.

The Lusty Men is an extraordinary film—and I highly recommend that you join us for this rare screening of it (on 35mm!) at the Jacob Burns Film Center next month.”

 

"A masterpiece by Nicholas Ray -- perhaps the most melancholy and reflective of his films."
Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

This film is part of the Hollywood Maverick: Nicholas Ray series.



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