THE LUSTY MEN
1952, Warner Bros., 113 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

In this story of an indomitable woman and the men who will risk anything to have her, rodeo star Jeff McCloud (Robert Mitchum) hobbles back home to Oklahoma after a series of accidents. But when ambitious young rider Wes Merritt (Arthur Kennedy) hires McCloud as coach, the younger man's wife, Louise (Susan Hayward), is the lure that attracts McCloud. Louise is willing to allow McCloud's advances if it will help her husband; however, when the unstable triangle of passion inevitably leads to a confrontation between Merritt and McCloud, the aging rider enters one last rodeo just to thwart Merritt's ambition - but at a terrible price.


THE BREAKING POINT
1950, Warner Bros., 97 min, USA, Dir: Michael Curtiz

The finest film version of Hemingway’s novel To Have and Have Not (and yes, that includes the Bogart-Hawks classic) shifts the story from Cuba to Newport Beach, California, but retains the novel’s core of noir-stained tragedy. As Skipper Harry Morgan, John Garfield essays his finest screen portrayal of a man whose domestic travails and mid-life crisis results in crime, flight and death. Garfield’s turn is perfectly matched by Patricia Neal, as a predatory femme fatale, and Phyllis Thaxter as his beaten-down but unswervingly loyal spouse. With Wallace Ford as a bottom-feeding attorney and the great Afro-Cuban actor Juano Hernandez.


NO DOWN PAYMENT
1957, 20th Century Fox, 105 min, Dir: Martin Ritt

This highly underrated ensemble drama is one of the most perceptive looks at life in the suburbs ever made. Three couples struggle with such things as alcoholism, debt and racial bias as new neighbors move in to their Sunrise Hills subdivision; a fine cast includes Joanne Woodward, Cameron Mitchell, Tony Randall (playing way against type), Pat Hingle and Barbara Rush.


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