The Outrage is adapted from the Fay and Michael Kanin Broadway play, Rashomon, which in turn was based on the Japanese film production of same tab. It is the story of a killing of a Southern gentleman and the rape of his wife by a bloodthirsty bandit, told through the eyes of the three protagonists and then by a disinterested eye witness, each version differing.
Script unfolds in the American Southwest in the 1870s, a neat metamorphosis from the 12th-century Japan of the play and original Nipponese pic. Bandit character is retained, but the samurai character becomes a Southern gentleman of fine family (Laurence Harvey) who is travelling through the West with his wife (Claire Bloom) when set upon by a Mexican outlaw (Paul Newman).
Plot takes its form, opening on platform of a deserted railroad station as a prospector and a preacher, who is leaving the town a disillusioned man, recite to con-man Edward G. Robinson the trial of the outlaw a few days previously, when three people testify to three totally different accounts of what ‘actually’ happened.
Newman as the violent and passionate killer plays his colorful character with a flourish and heavy accent. Harvey has little to do in first three accounts except remain tied to a tree, his turn coming in fourth when the prospector tells how he and bandit are shamed by the wife into fighting for her. Bloom, who appeared in Broadway play, has her gamut during the four versions of her ravishment, running from pure innocence to her demand to the outlaw to kill her husband so she can go with her new lover. In all, she delivers strongly, turning glibly from drama to comedy.