DAVIES, Delmer

(1904–1977)
   After graduating from Stanford University with a law degree, Delmer Davies began working in the film industry almost immediately; he worked on the set of The Covered Wagon(1923) during these early years. After serving in numerous behind-the-scenes positions, he began directing in 1943. Dark Passage (1947), starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, is usually seen as Davies’masterpiece, but he also developed a close association with Westerns, all produced in the 1950s. While Davies is usually given much less prominence than his contemporaries Anthony Mann and Budd Boetticher, his Westerns often break from the traditional formulas and provide dark but revealing character contrasts. He stretched the limits of cultural expectations, as with Broken Arrow(1950), one of the first cult-of-the-Indian Westerns, in which the United States’policies toward Native Americanswere questioned. Davies had a close association with Glenn Ford and worked with him in three Westerns: 3:10 to Yuma (1957), Jubal (1956), and Cowboy (1958). Delmer Davies’reputation for Westerns mainly rests on 3:10 to Yuma, a noir Western that has little action and is almost purely character driven. Davies’last Western, The Hanging Tree (1959), is remembered for its Oscar-nominated theme song; it was Gary Cooper’s last Western as well.
   See also CLASSIC WESTERN' FORMULAS.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

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