You have to forgive this film for its utterly inappropriate title, The Lusty Men—it might as well have been titled The Randy Cowboys. Clearly, one or more of its numerous writers tossed out the title to attract prurient interest, or some studio head demanded a more “sexy” come-on. But, fortunately, it has nothing to do with Nicholas Ray’s sensitive portrayal of rodeo performers and their addictions to that self-destructive sport. Despite sometimes tense male-to-male relationships and both central characters’ love for the film’s central woman character, played by Susan Hayward, there is nothing even slightly “lusty” about their acts.
Wes: Now if he played it smart when he had the chicken.
But when Jeff attempts to suggest a relationship with Louise, she remains true to Wes. His answer represents the kind of witty, understated dialogue behind much of Mitchum’s acting and reveals Ray’s brilliant manipulation of his characters:
though, for all the times I won’t.