(1951)1Craig ButlerThere's plenty of dust being driven sky high, and horses running to and fro, and nefarious backstage political shenanigans and more big sky Texas settings than you can shake a stick at in Lone Star. Yet somehow, no matter how much or how hard you shake that stick, you can't get Star to come to life. It's a big picture with a big story, but it never becomes the epic-cum-romance that it wants to be; instead, the film just lies there like an exhausted horse in the hot Texas sun. Certainly the script is to blame, as it is filled with clichéd situations and trite dialogue. The characters are thin and predictable, and the dialogue is hokey. A real firebrand of a director might have whipped it into something that was entertaining if empty headed, but Vincent Sherman's work here is perfunctory. Yes, he gets the shots lined up right and everything is where it should be, but there's no spark to it and precious little imagination. Someone with a firm hand and a distinctive touch was needed, and Sherman couldn't supply it. The cast is certainly loaded with talent, but the mighty Clark Gable doesn't have his heart into it, and he's the one who really has to hold it together. Ava Gardner looks luscious but her performance is uninspired and Broderick Crawford plays his part without any surprises. Lionel Barrymore provides some tasty ham as Andrew Jackson, but it's not enough.
During the 1845 battle for Texas' independence, a cattle baron (Clark Gable) spars with an evil senator (Broderick Crawford) over the state's future and for the affections of newpaperwoman Ava Gardner.