Kirk Douglas etched an indelible portrait of the rugged, no-nonsense man in the 1962 drama “Lonely Are the Brave.”
Douglas, whose mug alone made him one of Hollywood’s most masculine leading men, plays a cowboy born a half century too late in the move that only now is heading to DVD (July 7).
The film opens with Douglas on horseback trying to navigate a busy New Mexico highway. It’s the perfect setup for what’s to come.
Douglas stars as Jack, an itinerant cowboy looking to reunite with an old pal. But his friend is in jail for trying to help some illegal immigrants cross into the country. So Jack gets himself thrown in jail just to see him.
That impulsive act seals Jack’s fate and sets up a wildly inventive chase picture.
It’s dizzying to tally up all of “Brave’s” cinematic pleasures. Let’s start with the rambunctious fistfight between Jack and the surly one-armed man. But what about Jack’s sexually charged scenes with his pal’s loyal wife (Gena Rowlands)? Or Walter Matthau’s turn as the lawman assigned to bring Jack in, even though he sees something noble in the outlaw?
“Brave” comes from screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, he of the Hollywood Ten fame, and one can see some of his ideological leanings in certain sequences.
But the film’s story never suffers for it – it’s a tale of an American kind of individualism that simply cannot be squelched.