Outlawed (1949)

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German title Bird free
Original title Colorado Territory
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1949
length 94 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Raoul Walsh
script John Twist ,
Edmund H. North
production Anthony Veiller for
Warner Brothers
music David Buttolph
camera Sid Hickox
cut Owen Marks

Bird Free (Original Title: Colorado Territory ) is an American western directed by Raoul Walsh from 1949. It is a remake of Walsh's own film Decision in the Sierra , which he had made eight years earlier, but the plot will be from 20 Moved to the Wild West in the 19th century . Both films are based on the novel High Sierra by William Riley Burnett .


In the wild west of the 19th century: the notorious criminal Wes McQueen is able to free himself from prison using a trick by his comrades. McQueen actually wants to leave the crook's life and retire as a farmer, but that is not granted to him: For his long-time friend Dave Rickard, who was responsible for McQueen's liberation, he is supposed to commit a robbery on a train. This should be the last coup for both of them, after which they end their criminal career. Rickard himself is seriously ill and cannot personally take part in the robbery, but he has got help from other robbers. On the way to Colorado , where the robbery is to take place, Wes meets the dreamy-naive but friendly Fred Winslow and his beautiful daughter Julie Ann. Winslow, who comes from the east of the USA, bought a ranch in the area without having seen them beforehand. During the ride, Wes defends the carriage against an armed robbery, which earns him the respect of the Winslows.

In the ghost town of Todos Santos, Wes meets his accomplices for the robbery, the brutal Reno Blake and the devious Duke Harris, who immediately make him suspicious. Also present in the ghost town is Colorado Carson, a woman who Reno has brought with him and who is brutally treated by him. McQueen wants to send Colorado away first because women could quickly lead to arguments between men and that would be dangerous in such a company, but she doesn't know where to go. Therefore she is allowed to stay for the time being. Also part of the gang are the fearful train conductor Homer Wallace and a villainous man named Pluthner, with whom McQueen had a previous conflict. Except for Rickard, McQueen does not trust any member of the gang, only out of gratitude to his old boss he takes over the management of the robbery. While preparing for the attack, McQueen pays the Winslows visits. Mr. Winslow's acquired farm has turned out to be an uneconomical, dreary place. McQueen sees Julie Ann Winslow as the ideal image of a woman, also because she reminds him of a deceased childhood sweetheart of herself. Julie Ann would rather be back in her home on the east coast and is dissatisfied with her new life. McQueen tries to win her heart by giving her a dress.

On the day of the robbery, McQueen discovers that train conductor Wallace betrayed the gang to the sheriff in order to collect the reward for the arrest. He uncouples the passenger cars (with the Marshal and his men in there) from the front of the train, in which the large money transport is located. Duke and Reno, who pick the security lock, are now trying to cheat McQueen, but McQueen is prepared for it too. He ties them up with handcuffs and leaves them to the marshal, who later hangs them. Together with Colorado, who has since fallen in love with McQueen, and the money, McQueen rides to old Rickard's house. The sick man has since been killed by Pluthner. McQueen can kill Pluthner but is shot in the shoulder by him beforehand.

The wounded McQueen rides to the Winslow's farm, where Colorado removes the bullet from McQueen's shoulder. Mr. Winslow helps them, even though he now knows who McQueen is and that he is wanted by the Marshal. McQueen later overhears Julie Ann trying to hand him over to the Marshal for the reward money. Colorado and Mr. Winslow can prevent that. Now McQueen knows that his heart beats for Colorado, not Julie Ann. They want to get married and move away, but are soon discovered by the marshal's men. He gives Colorado the money, tells her to bury it, and rides away. The marshal's men follow him, however, so that McQueen has to hide on a cliff in an abandoned Indian town. After many hours, Colorado reached the place on foot. By a trick of the marshal, McQueen comes out of hiding and is badly wounded. Colorado helps her lover and both die together in a hail of bullets.

Colorado left the booty money at the Todos Santos mission station , which has been abandoned for years due to a lack of funding. In the final scene the mission opens its gates again thanks to the booty money.


While Burnett's novel and the first film adaptation, Decision in the Sierra (1941) are set in the gangster milieu of the 20th century, Walsh relocated the plot to the Wild West of the 19th century. Both films are largely the same in terms of the course of the plot, but are otherwise only slightly similar. The material was filmed for the third time by Stuart Heisler in 1956 under the title I Died a Thousand Times ( Against all violence ).

James Mitchum , the son of Robert Mitchum , has a small role as a farm boy towards the beginning of the film.

The costumes were by Leah Rhodes , the special effects were created by Hans F. Koenekamp and William C. McGann , Leslie G. Hewitt was in charge of the sound, and Ted Smith was in charge of the production design.

Vogelfrei is the first American film that was rejected by the voluntary self-regulation of the film industry in the young Federal Republic of Germany . This was justified by the fact that he was a "prime example of those gangster films that glorified anti-social elements ". The ban was later lifted.


At Ultra Film Synchron GmbH Berlin , a synchronization was created in 1950 under the direction of Erich Kobler .

role actor Voice actor
Wes McQueen Joel McCrea Wolf Ackva
Colorado Carson Virginia Mayo Tina Eilers
Mr. Fred Winslow Henry Hull Bum Kruger
US Marshal Morris Ankrum Klaus W. Krause


Bosley Crowther of the New York Times compared Colorado Territory with the first film version in 1949 and drew a positive conclusion: “Funnily enough,” the remake idea of Decision in the Sierra was not wrong at all, because “'High Sierra' in Colorado and on that Horseback is damn good. Strictly speaking, the romantic impulses and sentimental liberties are better off his action in the landscape of the West, than they were in a modern setting "This. Lexicon of international film was:". Expertly staged Star Western with romantic glorification of a criminal "The editors of Television magazine Cinema saw Vogelfrei as a "[g] eleven remake of a classic" and gave the film the highest rating.

The widespread appreciation of the film is borne out by the statements of some prominent film critics . Joe Hembus praised : "The western adaptation of the gangster novel High Sierra [...] is the best film version of the material, and the closing scenes with the lovers' deaths are among the best that Walsh has ever shot," Hans C. Blumenberg prophesied 1981 in his obituary for Walsh: "Those who love the cinema will never forget many of Raoul Walsh's characters: [...] the bold navigator Gregory Peck in ' Captain Horatio Hornblower ' as little as the westerner Joel McCrea in 'Colorado Territory' ", Frieda Grafe said the" laconic picture sequences "were" cinema [...] pure ", Hans Schifferle said the film was" like The Big Trail and Pursued a trip into an American terrain vague , a road movie through American inner and outer Worlds, through innocent landscapes of longing and imponderability ”, and Harald Eggebrecht outlined the uniqueness of the dark film 2011 as follows:

“Rarely has a landscape that is otherwise so glowing with the sun, yes, glistening with light, has cast so many shadows, shadows in which no one can cool down, but which fall like ruin on actions and faces. [...] [The] Wild West, this ' promised land ' of a supposedly eternally new beginning for the persecuted and lost, [...] [turns out] in Raoul Walsh's darker, fatal horse opera, which rises up with emotions as merciless terrain for stranded, disappointed, tired of this life - the West as a landscape of inevitable doom. "

DVD release

Raoul Walsh: Vogelfrei (= Süddeutsche Zeitung Cinemathek Western. No. 6). Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH , Munich 2011 [licensed edition], ISBN 978-3-86615-897-9 , EAN 40 18492 24282 8 [with a film historical appraisal by Harald Eggebrecht].


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Joe Hembus: The Western Lexicon. 1567 films from 1894 to the present day . Extended new edition by Benjamin Hembus. Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich 1995 [first edition 1976], ISBN 3-453-08121-8 , p. 700.
  2. ^ I Died a Thousand Times . In: AFI Catalog of Feature Films. of the American Film Institute .
  3. : Notes. In: The time . June 1, 1950. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  4. Colorado Territory, Trivia Section . In: Internet Movie Database .
  5. a b Vogelfrei (1949) . In: Synchrondatenbank , accessed on March 6, 2017.
  6. Vogelfrei (1949) . In: German synchronous card index , accessed on March 6, 2017.
  7. Bosley Crowther: Colorado Territory, 'a Warner Film With Joel McCrea and Virginia Mayo, at Strand [review]. In: New York Times . June 25, 1949, accessed March 6, 2017: “And the funny thing is that the impulse of the Warners has not played them false. 'High Sierra' in a Colorado setting and on horseback is pretty darned good. In fact, the romantic assumptions and the sentimental liberties of its plot are more suited to the Western landscape than they were to a modern-day scene. "German translation from: Raoul Walsh: Vogelfrei (= Süddeutsche Zeitung Cinemathek Western. No. 6) . Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH, Munich 2011 [licensed edition], ISBN 978-3-86615-897-9 , EAN 40 18492 24282 8.
  8. Free of birds. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 6, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  9. Free of birds . In: Cinema.de .
  10. Hans C. Blumenberg: The old lion. On the death of Raoul Walsh. In: The time . January 9, 1981. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  11. From a text from 1986 on Vogelfrei ; quoted from: Let words dance. Frieda Grafes collected film tips. In: The time . December 2, 1994, accessed March 6, 2017.
  12. Hans Schifferle: The great journey. In: Bernd Kiefer , Norbert Grob with the collaboration of Marcus Stiglegger (Ed.): Filmgenres. Western (= RUB . No. 18402). Reclam, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-15-018402-9 , pp. 64-68, here 64 f.
  13. Harald Eggebrecht: The film. [Accompanying text to:] Raoul Walsh: Vogelfrei (= Süddeutsche Zeitung Cinemathek Western. No. 6). Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH, Munich 2011 [licensed edition], ISBN 978-3-86615-897-9 , EAN 40 18492 24282 8.