“Hope's a funny thing. You can have it even when there ain't no reason for it.”
Seriously I want to know what some studios in Old Hollywood were thinking when they named films. There have been so many times I have watched a film and thought the title does not even fit with the story. Sometimes they made the films seems so melodramatic and silly. These thought came to mind when I watched The Lusty Men. When I heard this title I thought it was going to dramatic and seductive. I was completely thrown off when I saw it was about rodeos and crazy men who like danger.
Jeff McCloud (Robert Mitchum) worked in a rodeo up until he road a dangerous bull and got really hurt. After the rodeo he goes back to his old house. He did not think anyone was living there. He finds an old unmarried man named Jeremiah living there. Jeff goes to leave when Louise (Susan Hayward) and her husband Wes pull up to the house. They are ranch hands on a cattle farm. Since Jeff needs a job they take him with them. The ranch owner is leery about hiring Jeff he does not want someone who will rough up the horses like a bunch of the other men who have come through. Jeff promises that will not happen.
Soon Jeff realizes Wes brought him to the ranch to teach him how to ride in rodeos so he can win some money. Wes did not plan on telling Louise about going to a rodeo. She found out he took out money to send in to save his place in a show. She is upset with him but she lets him do what he wants. Wes does decently in his first rodeo. He likes it enough that he wants to quit his job and travel around working in the rodeo. Louise tells Jeff that all Wes is thinking about is getting his own ranch while she is the one who has been thinking rationally. Louise asks Jeff about trying to talk Wes out of rodeo-ing. He tells her he just wants to see someone get what they want. Louise is willing to travel with Jeff because she likes him.
The three of them get a piece of ground where all the rodeo guys stay. They talk to the men and women who have been traveling with the rodeo for a long time. They hear horror stories of bad injuries and how the men drink and gamble all the time.
In his first rodeo Wes is signed up for riding a bull. He has never ridden a bull before and he winds up drawing the most dangerous one. Wes manages to ride the bull to the finish. After the rodeo they all go out to a hotel in town where all the other riders and their wives go. A girl hits on Wes and Louise literally kicks her in the ass to get her away from Wes.
Louise receives a cable that the ranch they want is ready to be sold. Wes wants nothing to do with the ranch now he wants to stay on the road and ride in the show. Louise still wants Jeff to talk her husband out of doing rodeos. He confesses he went along with them just so he could be near her and they kiss.
Wes gets mad at Jeff for kissing his wife and calls Jeff a coward for not riding. Jeff decides to ride a bull. He gets hurt and a rib punctures his lung and he dies. After Jeff dies Wes decides to give up the rodeo.
What a terribly boring story The Lusty Men was. The only reason I stuck through the whole thing was because of Robert Mitchum and Susan Hayward. I can only hope their other film they made together was not as bad as this (if anyone knows where to find their film White Witch Doctor from 1953 please let me know!). I do not like westerns or anything that has to do with rodeos or with the Midwest. I am a total easterner from the NY/NJ area with a bad attitude when it comes to people from the Midwest and cowboys and all that western nonsense. I apologize to anyone from the Midwest who is reading I am sure you are a cool person and that we would be friends since you are reading this which means you must like old films or Susan Hayward or Robert Mitchum. Anyway before I ramble myself into a hole, I will stop here with my review of The Lusty Men so I can go to sleep (it is very late at night/early in the morning) and now forget I ever saw this film.