Heller in Pink Tights by George Cukor (Review)

The cast was an excellent choice, and set the tone for the 1960s, which became an incredible decade for westerns.
Heller in Pink Tights - George Cukor

The Wild West had an array of characters ranging from the outlaw, to the Indian, to the sheriff, and more. Louis L’Amour chose to write about a character that is often forgotten when one imagines the West in the 1800’s. The beautiful Sophia Loren plays a traveling actress in George Cukor’s movie based on L’Amour’s novel, along with the travelling actor, Anthony Quinn. The forgotten actors were the individuals who tried to shed a little light on the unpredictable, often dangerous West, and Cukar helps us remember, or learn.

As many may recall from Oliver Stone’s Tombstone, Wyatt Earp fell in love and eventually married a touring actress. The stunning Loren makes it just as easy for cowboys to fall at her feet, with a seductive nature that gets her anything she wants. Unfortunately for the mischievous Angie Rossini, her lovely looks often gets her more than she wants. Steve Forrest plays the man in black that wins Miss Rossini in a game of poker when her money runs out. And like she had to with the outlaws, Indians, and sheriffs, she runs from him, too.

The gunman, however, isn’t easy to escape. He follows the traveling act across the late 1800s Wyoming, as he always gets what he wants as well. He joins the caravan and assists them with the Indians and outlaws (who are trying to kill Forrest) and in the meantime causes Anthony Quinn’s character to be inflamed with jealousy. Mr. Healy (Quinn) finds out about the poker hand that threatens to take his love just in time, as the outlaws to show up and make for an interesting, twisted ending.

Though the movie claims to take place in Wyoming, the Saguaro native only to southwest and Mexico, tell us that they filmed it in that area of the nation. They do pass through a branch of the Rocky Mountains, however, which helps me forget about the inconsistent scenery. Actually, inconsistent scenery is almost as common in westerns as spurs. At any rate, the movie is full of lush scenery and western towns claiming to be Cheyenne and Bonanza. Most of the town scenes take place in antique theaters, opposed to the usual saloon, which adds even more freshness to a movie that strays from the typical western plots.

The cast was an excellent choice, and set the tone for the 1960s, which became an incredible decade for westerns. The late Anthony Quinn, who has starred in countless films (e.g., Guns for San Sebastian, Seven Cities of Gold), plays a humble actor trying to win the love of the much less tame actress Sophia Loren. While they play parts not often associated with the western genre, Steve Forrest does a fine job portraying the ever so notorious gunman. Refreshing characters and impressive acting make up for the lack of ruthless killing in the film. A well thought out plot makes a good replacement for violence, but don’t fret, there are a few gunfights found throughout.

Written by Nolan Shigley.

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