is a 1952 Western film noir
shot in Technicolor
, directed by Fritz Lang
and starring Marlene Dietrich
as the matron of a criminal hideout called Chuck-a-Luck
. Arthur Kennedy
and Mel Ferrer
play rivals for her attention in this tale of frontier revenge.
The film was originally titled The Legend of Chuck-a-Luck
, but the name was changed at the insistence of Howard Hughes
, then head of RKO Pictures
ranch hand Vern Haskell is enraged when his fiancee Beth Forbes is abused and murdered during a store robbery. He sets out after the two thieves, first with a posse, then by himself. He finds one of them, Whitey, shot in the back by his partner after a quarrel. Whitey's dying words, "Chuck-a-luck
", are the only clue to the second man's identity.
After questioning everyone he meets, Vern finally finds someone who lets slip that someone named Altar Keane is connected with Chuck-a-luck. When the man realizes that Vern is just fishing for information, Vern is forced to kill him in self defense. Vern is taken into custody, then released when the dead man is identified as a wanted outlaw. By a stroke of luck, a deputy knows Altar as a saloon singer from his past, though not her current whereabouts.
Later, Vern learns that after she quit working for saloon owner Baldy Gunder, she bet her last $20 on his rigged chuck-a-luck game and won a lot of money after gunslinger Frenchy Fairmont stepped in to help her. In the town of... Read More