ANDREWS, Dana

(1909–1992)
   Dana Andrews began his career primarily in Westerns, landing solid secondary roles in such well-regarded films as The Westerner (1940) and Belle Starr (1941). An actor with great promise never fulfilled, Andrews fought alcoholism most of his life, which affected his career considerably. During the 1950s, he played lead in several low-budget Westerns such as Comanche (1956) ; Strange Lady in Town (1955), opposite Greer Carson; and Town Tamer(1965). Andrews mastered the art of conveying the psychological intensity of troubled characters. In The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), Andrews delivered a skilled performance as an innocent man accused of rustling and murder. Andrews’s character (Donald Martin) purchases some cattle and neglects to get a bill of sale. Then, while moving into the territory, he picks up a Hispanic companion and an old man suffering from dementia. On a drearily cold night at the Ox-Bow, an angry mob finds these three men with the cattle and believes it is the herd taken from a man who has been murdered. In this noir Western, Andrews masterfully portrays a desperate man trying to reason with those beyond reasoning and maintain some semblance of personal human dignity as the rope is placed around his neck. Moments after the hanging, the mob finds out he was indeed innocent.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

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