After robbing a bank Murphy assumes the identity of his pursuer, a famous US Marshal, when he stumbles into a town and is confronted by the local judge, Matthau. Murphy is forced to remain ... See full summary »
After robbing a bank Murphy assumes the identity of his pursuer, a famous US Marshal, when he stumbles into a town and is confronted by the local judge, Matthau. Murphy is forced to remain as the new Marshal; an old flame, Scala, nearly unmasks him by accident, only to be forced to assume the ruse of being Murphy's wife. The "couple" given a house and respectability, which neither has had before. They maintain the charade to avoid hurting a young orphan boy, Matthau's ward. Scala is torn by her loyalty to boyfriend planning to rob the bank and growing feelings for Murphy. Written by
Teeler is interested in that bank, and so am I. When I learn how this town works, he'll ride in with ten men, and do what you'd like to do.
You're still talkin' about the bank?
When you write to Teeler, tell him I got here first. And I'm not just talkin' about the bank!
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For this kind of film, this is as good as it gets!
For a modestly budgeted, unambitious horse opera, this is as good as it gets. Audie Murphy's Western vehicles of the 50s don't command the respect of Randolph Scott's or Joel McCrea's, but they are just as entertaining. A few of them ("No Name On The Bullet," "Posse From Hell") have an unusual edge that makes them noteworthy, but this one simply transcends its limitations to be a damned good entertainment. Walter Matthau steals every scene he's in as an alcoholic judge, while Murphy's subtly nervous performance as the would-be outlaw pretending he's a respected lawman may remind one of David Janssen as TV's "The Fugitive." Audie reportedly was uncomfortable with romantic scenes, but here he handles some innuendo-laden dialogue with Gia Scala quite nicely. Henry Silva and Mort Mills provide some surprisingly restrained (for this sort of thing) villainy. The premise (good-at-heart outlaw is reformed by wearing a badge) was old hat, but the execution is great! Set your expectations for a medium budgeted Western with no pretensions, and you won't be disappointed. You may even be pleasantly surprised.
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