The Last Frontier (1955)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Cavalry Film, Traditional Western  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Hans J. Wollstein

Looking for all the world like a cross between Sylvester Stallone and Seinfeld's Kramer, Victor Mature tears into his part of a savage trapper who desires to become an army officer. Mature may be accused of overacting at times, but his drunken act remains quite entertaining and is certainly the most interesting aspect of this rather muddled Western-melodrama, which Anthony Mann directed with a surprisingly heavy hand. For reasons known only to its creators, The Last Frontier takes place mostly at night, which may have been picturesque in the original Cinemascope format. But in the surviving pan-and-scan version, the night scenes become merely ghostly and impenetrable. A young Anne Bancroft does what she can with a thankless role and Robert Preston and Guy Madison salute a lot when not arguing over the pros and cons of Indian warfare. James Whitmore, meanwhile, spends quite a bit of time bemoaning that he didn't bring Victor Mature up as a decent Christian. In reality, he was nine years younger than his onscreen foster son.