Glenn Ford, Homicidal Maniac: ‘The Man from Colorado’,%20The_01.jpg

Don’t ask me what the movie poster actually says. All I can tell you is, it goes with a very cool and off-beat movie: The Man from Colorado (1948), starring Glenn Ford and William Holden.

We’re used to seeing Ford play a sympathetic, kind of Everyman character. But in this outing he’s a Civil War cavalry officer who’s been at it long enough to develop some very bad habits not at all suited to peacetime. He wishes he could stop, but he can’t: can’t stop killing people. He confides in his diary a fear that he might be “going crazy.” Gee, you think?

Unaware of their hero’s darker side, and with the war suddenly over, the grateful community has the governor of Colorado appoint Ford a federal judge. The former colonel takes full advantage of his new-found power to have persons hanged.

His one-time second-in-command, William Holden, has his suspicions; meanwhile, he allows the judge to make him a federal marshal. Wise advice from a family friend, good old Edgar Buchanan (Petticoat Junction), that as marshal, Holden can keep an eye on the judge and help him get past his inner demons, turns out not to be so wise after all.

You won’t believe what this judge gets up to. He was every bit as mischievous in 1865 as federal judges are today, and did almost as much harm. With the limited tools at his command–the noose, arson, a gang of goons, and a total commitment to do whatever it takes to get his way–Ford manages to stage his own little apocalypse.

Ford and Holden act the daylights out of their respective roles, especially Ford, going against type. The Man from Colorado is older than I am, but you’ll wait a long time for any current movie to be anywhere near as good.

And, yes, it’s in English. Don’t let the imported poster bother you: I just thought it had the most appropriate art work.

2 comments on “Glenn Ford, Homicidal Maniac: ‘The Man from Colorado’

  1. I don’t know if it was intended, but the behavior of the federal military during so-called “reconstruction” was little different and there were VERY FEW, even so-called “decent” Yankees who cared enough to do anything.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this movie was based on a historical incident or character.

      Reconstruction bore out the worst fears of the secessionists.

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