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With: Paul Newman, Laurence Harvey, Claire Bloom, Edward G. Robinson, William Shatner, Howard Da Silva, Albert Salmi, Thomas Chalmers, Paul Fix
Written by: Michael Kanin, based on short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, a screenplay by Akira Kurosawa, and a play by Fay Kanin, Michael Kanin
Directed by: Martin Ritt
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 96
Date: 10/07/1964
IMDB

The Outrage (1964)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Elusive Truth

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Martin Ritt directed this gorgeous, black-and-white widescreen adaptation of Rashomon on the heels of his successful Hud (1963). It never caught on, and it only serves to further expose just what it was about Hud that didn't work for me. It's a pretty literal remake, updated to the old West. It includes copies of the highly stylized performances from Kurosawa's original, which can very often seem hysterical (Westerns are usually all about downplaying). A preacher (William Shatner) and a prospector (Howard Da Silva) wait on a train platform in the rain and tell a story to an old con man (Edward G. Robinson). In the story, a man (Laurence Harvey) is murdered, his wife (Claire Bloom) is raped and a Mexican bandit (Paul Newman) is blamed for both crimes. We see four different versions of the story, told from four different points of view, and all of them contradicting one another; we can never know the truth. Newman in particular throws himself into his performance, strutting and gesturing and barking out a craggy Spanish accent and peppering his dialogue with the occasional Spanish word; I couldn't tell if it was the greatest performance I'd ever seen, or the worst. In that same way, The Outrage is too overwrought -- and too over-planned. It's beautiful, but it can't breathe. It feels like it has been preserved in amber.

DVD Details: Warner Home Video has released this along with four other Paul Newman films: his Oscar-nominated directorial debut Rachel, Rachel (1968), hisembarrassing acting debut in The Silver Chalice (1954), The Helen Morgan Story (1957), a Warner Bros. biopic directed by Michael Curtiz; and When Time Ran Out (1980), a big-budget, all-star Irwin Allen disaster filmthat ended the era of big-budget disaster films.

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