The Outcast. 1954. USA. Directed by William Witney. With John Derek, Joan Evans. DCP. 90 min.
After codirecting (with John English) many of Republic’s best-loved Saturday matinee serials, William Witney made a seamless transition to the adult Westerns that emerged after World War II. The Outcast, from 1954, captures that era’s nascent sense of teenage angst with John Derek (who had already played a proto-James Dean in Nicholas Ray’s 1949 teen delinquent drama Knock on Any Door) as a young drifter who returns to Colorado to reclaim his late father’s ranch from his usurping uncle (Jim Davis). Oedipal complications ensue when Derek takes a shine to his uncle’s glamorous fiancee (Catherine McLeod), recently arrived from back east.