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Shoshone tribesman and Civil War hero Lance Poole (Robert Taylor) returns home with a Congressional Medal of Honor on his chest and a saddlebag full of dreams about prospering as a cattleman on his family’s land. But American Indians have no citizenship, no property rights. The courts, despite the efforts of Lance’s attorney (Paula Raymond), offer no remedy. Lance and his people must fight to keep their land. Devil’s Doorway, the first of the dozen or so groundbreaking Westerns by filmmaker Anthony Mann (Winchester ’73), is one of the earliest films sympathetic to Native Americans, standing alongside the same year’s Broken Arrow. Perhaps not coincidentally, Lance Poole’s tribal name is Broken Lance.


Broken Arrow's success completely overshadowed Devil's Doorway which was released the same year and also addressed the terrible treatment of this nation's original settlers. The truth is that Devil's Doorway was completed first but held back from release due to the nervousness of MGM's studio brass over the subject matter. When Broken Arrow proved to be a box office hit, the studio released Devil's Doorway but it was largely ignored by critics and the public. The irony of all this is that, seen today, Broken Arrow seems preachy and patronizing whereas Devil's Doorway, directed by Anthony Mann, stands out as a much more realistic and grim depiction of how the west was really won.

Excerpt of review from TCM located HERE


Theatrical Release: September 15th 1950

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:24:09

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.21 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Dolby Digital 1.0 (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer (1:47)

DVD Release Date: July 20th, 2010
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Chapters 9



Great western - helmed by one of the genre's true masters, Anthony Mann. Yes, a better film than the lauded Broken Arrow, IMO. Since 1940's Waterloo Bridge - Robert Taylor can do no wrong in my book. Devil's Doorway has great action sequences, performances and adventure storytelling. It is filled with wonderfully composed perspective shots. Essential stuff...

It's standard single-layered and progressive in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and looks quite strong. There are infrequent, frame-specific, speckles and black levels buoy the detail. The disc supports the impressive film with a fine transfer. This should have been released via a pressed disc long before now as the film and elements are so strong.

The mono sound is decent but unremarkable and there are no subtitles offered. The only supplement is the film's 1:47 second trailer.

If Devil's Doorway has any flaw - it might be that the middle drags just a bit but this is such a fabulous western (I watched it twice through consecutively) that we give it a very high recommendation. For fans of the genre or the director this amounts to a must-own. The Warner Archive disc appears to be the only game in town to own this on DVD. Go for it!  

  - Gary Tooze

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