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Audie and Dan Duryea are hired by a mysterious woman to take her across Indian country to her husband. On the way, she tries to seduce Audie by offering to give him Duryea's share of the money if he will help her achieve her real goal: kill Duryea for having killed her husband. Audie dreams of getting enough money to buy a ranch of his own, but his loyalty to his friend prevails. In the end, however, Murphy is forced to kill Duryea in a shootout when Duryea draws on him in a greedy attempt to finish the job even though continuing will likely get all three of them killed. After the shootout Duryea gets his final wish: a funeral carriage pulled by - you guessed it - six black horses. Written by
Rita Richardson <RRichar790@aol.com>
Above average Oater that sees Burt Kennedy recycle a classic format.
Six Black Horses is directed by Harry Keller and written by Burt Kennedy. It stars Audie Murphy, Dan Duryea and Joan O'Brien. Photography is by Maury Gertsman and the music scored by Joseph Gershenson. It's filmed in Eastmancolor and location for the shoot is St. George, Utah, USA. Plot sees Murphy and Duryea hired by O'Brien to take her across dangerous Indian country to her husband. But are ulterior motives at work?
There's no getting away from it, this film has striking similarities to the far superior Budd Boetticher/Randy Scott movie, Ride Lonesome. Also scripted by Burt Kennedy, the plot follows the same format and Kennedy even scripts some of the same dialogue. While the keen Western fan will note the name of Murphy's character, Ben Lane, was also used for a character in Boetticher's Comanche Station. So far so regurgitated then, but although it goes without saying that to watch this piece in conjunction with Ride Lonseome is a futile exercise, this does have enough about it to warrant a viewing on its own terms one Sunday afternoon.
It's a professional and well put together movie, Murphy and Duryea (owning the film from the second he turns up on his horse, shotgun in hands) aren't asked to extend themselves but make an engaging duo (see also their pairing in James Stewart starrer Night Passage 1957). While O'Brien (The Comancheros) is gorgeous and does a nice line in sultry devious. Editor turned director Keller does a competent job, his action construction solid if somewhat hamstrung by the odd daft moment involving the Coyoteros Indians. Stunt work is very good and Gershenson's (No Name on the Bullet/Lonely Are the Brave) score is brisk and tonally correct. Bonus here is the location scenery, beautifully realised by Gertsman's (Cattle Drive 1951) photography, the St. George craggy hills form an imposing backdrop as the protagonist's journey grows more perilous and their emotional states come under scrutiny.
Enjoyable with genuine moments of quality, even if it's ultimately the second cousin to a far better movie. 6.5/10
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