Murphy goes after bad guys who shot his friend the sheriff and abducted a local girl. In a plot reminiscent of High Noon, the posse of town blowhards gradually abandons Murphy; only tenderfoot banker Saxon remains, to prove his manhood. When they find the girl, obviously abused by her captors, Murphy shows her acceptance and sympathy whereas the others disply only revulsion. Written by
Universal's music director, Joseph Gershenson, reused the music scores from This Island Earth (1955) and It Came from Outer Space (1953) in this picture's music score, much to the chagrin of the original uncredited composers Hans J. Salter, Herman Stein, Henry Mancini, and Irving Gertz. By 1961, they were all out of their old 1950s Universal Studios contract, and only heard about this when they got notices in the mail from the Musicians' Union. They would have appreciated checks in the mail even more, but there were none, since their old contracts considered all their studio work as 'works for hire' and this precluded them getting any further royalties from their work. Universal continued this practice until a lawsuit from the Musicians' Union stopped it in 1966. See more »
The producer spent enough money on this film for it to have been a real tribute to Murphy and some new talent that came along with him. In spite of liberal financing, the chemistry of the picture is as a gourmet meal spoiling & decomposing over some hot days of being left out on the table -- and yet not as if this film had gone stale from protracted timing or over-working. Simply put: the production money had been spent in the wrong places; although technically, there was no lacking of potential, and a number of scenes are actually very good -- only to be spoilt in brand "x" followups & careless errors. The screenwriting editors seem greatly to be blamed. The cinematography was "competent" TV-style dead-panning, with little imagination. It seemed to have been deliberately sabotaged by corny, even shoddy, lapses in set, dialogue, and cinematography -- all set to lavishly overdone Gershwin music. It is as if somebody tried to make an upside-down parody of 'Schindler's List' into a Western -- and succeeded in canning all of the "vitality" of the picture. This film is as if all of the life had been taken out of 'Hud' and lot's of action / colour had been forced-in instead. This film is a cinematographical nightmare that one has in the early morning hours before awaking, after eating too much of a rich dinner. Audie should have known better than to have made this film the way it was; he ought to have produced it himself and done it right. In sum, 'POSSE...' is one of the examples of fine Westerns ceasing to be made. At best, it paved the way for the "spaghetti" phenomena that ushered in the Clint Eastwood era...and the last death throws of the Westerns' golden age [...1927-1961...]. One can only ask, 'Why?'
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