|Duke, Dino, and Ricky: Only in the movies.|
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Alright, I'm gonna put it straight out there for you: John's name may come first, but Dean steals the picture away from him, and makes the whole film his. There's no denying it. It is just a plain and simple fact that Dean knocks the socks right off your feet with his portrayal as the deputy who was once a long time ago done wrong by a woman, and over the past few years, turned to the drink to dull his pain and his memories of a soft, warm-bodied, no-good woman (and a woman that could do Dean wrong is something else entirely, but that certain four letter word isn't allowed on this here blog).
His performance as Dude is solid; awing; and truthful.
|Dean grabs your attention from the very beginning.|
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|The look on his face . . . and people say he couldn't act. Why I oughta . . .|
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|First day on the job . . . and sober . . .|
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. . . and then you feel like hitting him upside his head because he still thinks he's no good, and though he tried, tried real hard, he's just not like he use to be . . .
I ask you, how many actors can make you feel all of that for him?
|Dean's best scene in the film.|
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Confused, Stumpy asks exasperatedly, "What's he talkin' about 'him for me'? Well c'mon tell me. Nobody ever tells me nothin' around here!"
"You heard him. He's quitting."
Stumpy, proving his namesake, stumps up to Dude and asks softly, "What's got into you."
"Look at 'em." He says, holding up his large, shaking hands for Stumpy to see. "Ain't that pretty? Huh? Shaking worse all the time." A slight hitch catches in his voice when he asks, "What can a man do with hands like that? Go ahead, tell me. What?"
"Well take a drink. You said Chance told you to. Your given your chance you told 'em," he mumbles, so agitated that he mixes up his words.
"He can take the whole bottle," Chance snaps.
"Well go ahead!" Stumpy cackles.
Pushed to his limit, Dude grabs hold of the whiskey bottle, pulls the cork out of the neck, and pours himself two fingers. He's just about to take that long awaited drink that his body has been craving for for days, but just then the Deguello music that Nathan Burdette has paid for someone to play as a warning to Chance of what will happen. He's caught off guard by the music, and holding the glass to his lips, listens to the music, but still has yet to take a drink of the amber liquid.
Going to the window, Stumpy is about to pull the wooden boards shut, but Dude calls out to him softly, "Stumpy. Don't close it." Stumpy stumps back over to stand by Chance as they both watch Dude.
The look on Dude's dirty, sweaty, and bloody face is torn. He wants that drink. Yet that music has done something to him. He realizes that he wants to prove himself to everybody, but mostly to himself, that he can be the man that he use to be, and stay that way. With one last glance at the whiskey, which he most surely can taste as though he was swirling it around his tongue already, he pours it back into the bottle.
He looks at the glass, and says amazed, "Didn't spill a drop. Shakes are gone just because of a piece of music. Til they played that piece, I'd forgotten how I got into this thing. Keep on playin' it, I don't think I'll ever forget again." He stops twirling the glass in his hand, and looks up hopefully at John T. "Chance, give me another shot at it. Stumpy can take the bottle away."
|Dude was quite easily one of Dean's greatest portrayals.|
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Now, while Dean steals the picture from everybody, John Wayne, Angie Dickinson as Feathers, Walter Brennan, the funny Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez all hold their own. Even Ricky Nelson, while on the front seems very misplaced, does well, too. If Dean should have ever been nominated for anything (which he was, though never an Academy Award), he should have most definitely been nominated for his role as Dude.