Death Of A Gunfighter

death-of-a-gunfighter

DEATH OF A GUNFIGHTER—-fairly interesting turn-of-century western, with a durable star and solid supporting cast. It suffers from mediocre production values that highlght the back lot at Universal, but the direction—shared by Robert Totten & Don Siegel but credited to the nonexistent Alan Smithee—makes it work well enough for genre fans.

Richard Widmark plays the longtime sheriff of a town who finds his quickdraw tactics have outlived their usefulness. He won’t retire: the town forces the issue. The star clashed with Totten, so Siegel took over.  As usual, Widmark is very good, and it’s also of interest for the novel-at-the-time interracial romance he shares with ageless co-star Lena Horne.0015687f_medium

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With Michael McGreevy, Carroll O’Connor, Morgan Woodward, Jacqueline Scott, Larry Gates, Kent Smith, Royal Dano, Kathleen Freeman, Harry Carey Jr., Victor French, Dub Taylor, David Opatashu and John Saxon. From 1969, running 100 minutes.

Though decently reviewed (by the likes of the NY Times and Roger Ebert, who praised the “unknown” Smithee) few went to see it; it only pulled $2,600,000 for a forgotten 80th spot for the year, which saw the West visited by the more polished likes of True Grit, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and The Wild Bunch. 

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death-of-a-gunfighter

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