I just got my copy of the new Last Hunt DVD. It is remastered and looks wonderful. My overall impression, however, is equivocal. I do love animals and the buffalo killing scenes were hard to take. A TCM article quotes Stewart Granger as being revolted by the carnage and especially having to refrigerate the buffalo at night so they wouldn’t rot too much and then laying them out again.
Except for Debra Paget, the acting is exceptional. It’s not Paget’s fault. All she gets to do is stand around and look doe-eyed. She also gets a nude scene (from the back and with some tree limbs.) Both Granger and Taylor are much better than they were in “All the Brothers were Valiant” a couple of years earlier.
Lloyd Nolan is also top notch and I’m reminded of the Taylor-Nolan interaction in “Bataan” 13 years earlier.
Taylor’s character, Charlie Gilson is both kill-crazed and bit pathetic. He beats up the half-breed boy (Russ Tamblyn) and then can’t understand why he is left alone. He equates killing with sexual pleasure and then doesn’t rape the Indian girl because she won’t respond to him verbally. Lying on the ground after she goes to tend the child he seems so sad and alone.
Robert Taylor had a horror or over-acting or having his performance “smell of pork.” Despite this, director Richard Brooks has gotten a far less restrained performance than usual. Charlie is clumsy, often drunk, and given to hasty movements that sometimes don’t end well.
In fact, it is an Oscar worthy performance. I wonder why it didn’t get at least a nomination.