Desert Fury

Eddie Mueller calls Desert Fury (1947) “the gayest movie ever produced in Hollywood’s golden era” and it’s true that only the lightest inference is required to read this desert noir as a story about clashing same-sex couples. John Hodiak (Somewhere in the Night) stars as Eddie Bendix, a gangster cooling his heels in the small town of Chuckawalla with his henchman Johnny (Wendell Corey) where he meets the restless daughter (Paula, played by Lizabeth Scott) of a former associate. Super-saturated Technicolor renders the landscapes incredibly vivid. With a mop-topped Burt Lancaster as Tom Hanson, the virile deputy sheriff. A standout performance by Mary Astor as Paula’s casino-boss mom!