Death of a Gunfighter


Western /

IMDb Rating 6.3


Downloaded 492 times
1/2/2020 4:21:21 PM

100 min
P/S 0 / 0

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by hitchcockthelegend 6

Death of a Gunfighter is directed by Don Siegel and Robert Totten under the pseudonym of Alan Smithee. It&#39;s adapted to screenplay by Joseph Calvelli from the novel written by Lewis B. Patten. it stars Richard Widmark, Lena Horne and Carroll O&#39;Connor. A Technicolor production it sees music is by Oliver Nelson and cinematography by Andrew Jackson. Plot sees Widmark as Patch, an old style lawman in the town of Cottonwood Springs, a town that the community elders want to see move with the times. When Patch kills a drunk in self defence, the town denizens see it as the ideal opportunity to oust him from office. But Patch isn&#39;t that keen to leave his post....<br/><br/>It carries with it some historical cinematic value in that it was the first time the name Alan Smithee was seen on the directing credits. A name that come to be associated with films where the director who worked on it wanted his name off of the credits. Here it was Don Siegel, who only came in for the last two weeks of filming after Widmark and Totten fell out. The finished product, whilst no duffer, is still a lukewarm experience, not helped by the fact that the theme at its core has been done considerably better in other Western offerings. On the plus side there is Widmark stoically giving his anachronism role some real emotional depth, and the finale does not want for dramatic impact. But it plays out like a TV movie, with no visual flourishes, and the cosmopolitan make up of the townsfolk is not utilised to aid the story. 6/10

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Reviewed by krocheav 7

I had some initial hopes for this film, mainly because of an above average cast for a Universal western. If it had been made in the 40s or 50s it might have received a far better treatment but by the late sixties, it was looking too much like the tired old rehash of so many far better earlier westerns. Every cliché in the western book is endlessly paraded and bashed to death in this ponderous, out of its depth work. The script wallows in its 1969 new found grittiness, sex is added and talked about in keeping with the so-called new &#39;adult&#39; approach to screen writing ~ not because it helps the story, but simply because now they could.... <br/><br/>With two directors involved, it&#39;s fully understandable that no-one would want their names associated with the final out they trundle &#39;Allen Smithee&#39; to cover their tracks. Richard Widmark was worthy of a far better picture but at this point in his distinguished career I suppose offers were getting a little thin. The support characters (while mostly played by fine actors) are just about all cardboard copies of numerous other &#39;town verses lawman&#39; westerns, but here they&#39;re tending to look rather ridiculous.<br/><br/>There are several hints the sheriff has dirt on just about every member of the town council, but no advantage is ever taken of this angle, it all just dies away as another cliché on the way to the very obvious end.<br/><br/>Some nice photographic angles, and a curious music score are the only relief to the general boredom on offer. Lena Horne is wasted within a thankless set dressing role. John Saxon is good as usual, but again his is an underdeveloped character. I dare say this was made with television in mind, as the claustrophobic TV back-lot look kills off any real atmosphere. For westerns that offer a good insight into the end of the old west, best try two earlier Universal International productions; &quot;Lonely are the Brave&quot; in &#39;62 and in the mid 50s another &#39;little&#39; western that managed to present a good script within a small budget; &quot;A Day of Fury&quot; with Jock Mahoney. Seems there remains a lot of easily pleased western fans out there, so if not overly discerning this may still offer varying degrees of interest. <br/><br/>A friend kindly gave me a DVD of this movie for Christmas and while the Umbrella release has good image and sound quality it&#39;s being marketed under the six shooter &#39;classics&#39; banner. As we constantly see with cable TV, the word &#39;CLASSIC&#39; is bandied around very loosely and is to be taken equally as loosely!. If only they knew.....

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Reviewed by tavm 8

In continuing to review African-Americans on film and television in chronological order for Black History Month, we&#39;re now at 1969 with Death of a Gunfighter with Lena Horne in her only straight role though you do hear her recording of the song, &quot;Sweet Apple Wine&quot; in the beginning and end credits. Though she&#39;s billed above the title with Richard Widmark, her role of Claire Quintana is very much a supporting one that&#39;s mainly there as one of the few people who stands by Marshal Frank Patch (Widmark) as the townspeople are fed up with his violent ways of dealing with justice. Also among the supporting cast are Michael McGreevey as Dan-a young man who also likes the marshal, Darleen Carr-sister of The Sound of Music&#39;s Charmian Carr-as his girlfriend Hilda, Jacqueline Scott-probably best known as Richard Kimble&#39;s sister Donna on &quot;The Fugitive-as the widow, Laurie Mills, of the first man killed by Patch at the beginning of the movie, Harry Carey, Jr. as Rev. Rork, John Saxon as county Sheriff Lou Trinidad who tries to get Patch to get out of town peacefully, and, in a nice surprise from his later role as Archie Bunker, Carroll O&#39;Connor as the bar owner, Lester Locke, who bides his time in letting other people get Frank before he himself tries. Many of the cast I just mentioned and lots of others I haven&#39;t contribute great tension as the film chronicles the last days of the Marshal. Horne acquits herself nicely with her few scenes and it&#39;s nice seeing her and Widmark kiss at their wedding especially when one knows that Widmark played a racist opposite Sidney Poitier in his movie debut, No Way Out (1950). Love the music score, by Oliver Nelson, and direction especially many of the close-ups. That direction, by the way, was credited to one &quot;Allen Smithee&quot; which is the name used when the real director doesn&#39;t want his own name used. In this case, they&#39;re Robert Totten-who had &quot;creative differences&quot; with Widmark, and Don Siegel-who had filmed the actor previously in Madigan. This marked &quot;Smithee&#39;s&quot; feature film debut. All in all, Death of a Gunfighter was another pleasant surprise for me.

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