Blood on the Moon
|Blood on the Moon|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert Wise|
|Produced by||Theron Warth|
|Screenplay by||Lillie Hayward
|Based on||The novel Gunman's Chance
by Luke Short
Barbara Bel Geddes
|Music by||Roy Webb|
|Editing by||Samuel E. Beetley|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
|Running time||88 minutes|
Blood on the Moon is a 1948 RKO black-and-white "psychological" western directed by Robert Wise with cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca. The film, starring Robert Mitchum, Barbara Bel Geddes, and Robert Preston has many film noir elements. It was shot in California and some of the more scenic shots at Red Rock Crossing, Sedona, Arizona. The picture is based on the novel Gunman's Chance by Luke Short.
Drifter cowboy Jim Garry receives a job offer by mail from smooth-talking Tate Riling. Garry rides into an Indian reservation and finds himself in the middle of a feud between cattle ranchers and homesteaders. Garry does not realize that his new boss Riling is a criminal.
Riling intends to swindle naive landowners in an elaborate scheme involving a plan to make sure that cattle owner Lufton and his family do not get grazing land, thereby losing their stock.
At first aligning himself with Riling, Garry finally figures out that his so-called friend is up to no good. He switches loyalty to Lufton and his daughters, leading to a bloody showdown.
The New York Times gave the film a good review and lauded Robert Mitchum's acting and Lilly Hayward's screenplay:
...Blood on the Moon still stands out from run-of-the-range action dramas. The reason is obvious enough. This picture has a sound, sensible story to tell and, besides, it is well acted. Robert Mitchum carries the burden of the film and his acting is superior all the way...Lillie Hayward's screen play, taken from a novel by Luke Short, is solidly constructed and by not over-emphasizing Jim Garry's inherent honesty, she has permitted Mr. Mitchum to illuminate a character that is reasonable and most always interesting. The same can be said of the rancher's daughter, whom Miss Bel Geddes represents. Others who give worthy help include Walter Brennan, Mr. Preston, Phyllis Thaxter, Frank Faylen and Tom Tully. And a word should be said, too, for the direction by Robert Wise. A comparative newcomer to the directorial ranks, he has managed to keep the atmosphere of this leisurely paced film charged with impending violence.
The film was also reviewed favorably by Variety magazine:
Blood on the Moon is a terse, tightly-drawn western drama. There's none of the formula approach to its story telling. Picture captures the crisp style used by Luke Short in writing his western novels...Picture's pace has a false sense of leisureliness that points up several tough moments of action. There is a deadly knock-down and drag-out fist fight between Mitchum and Preston; a long chase across snow-covered mountains and the climax gun battle between Preston's henchmen and Mitchum, Brennan and Bel Geddes that are loaded with suspense wallop.
- Blood on the Moon at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Blood on the Moon at the Internet Movie Database
- Blood on the Moon at allmovie
- Blood on the Moon at the TCM Movie Database
- Blood On The Moon film trailer on YouTube