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After a card shark is caught cheating, he is taken out and lynched by the drunkards he was playing against. Soon afterwards, the men who were in the lynch mob start being murdered, one after another; all by hanging, strangling, or smothering. Who will be killed next and who is responsible? Is it one of the original party seeking to cover their accursed deed, or perhaps the mysterious Rev. Jonathan Rudd, who has recently arrived in town? Written by
A group of card gamblers are killed one by one and Martin and Mitchum investigate the murders
It's a film noir/Western/suspense of bizarre beauty and extraordinary performances ; being based on a novel by Ray Gaulden and interesting screenplay by Marguerite Roberts . A card shark is caught cheating, he is taken out and lynched , later on , this engenders several murders . The players in an ongoing poker game are being mysteriously killed off, one by one . A professional gambler (Dean Martin) who attempted to prevent the lynching tries to ensnare the assassin with the aid of a preacher (Robert Mitchum) with a weapon .
Suspenseful film dealing with a card player who is lynched by the drunkards he was playing against. Tension from the opening game going on until ending and never lets up , being for Agata Christie aficionados . This is a tremendously exciting story of an obstinate card player and a strange preacher with a gun . It begins as a slow-moving Western but follows to surprise us with dark characters , strong supporting work , solid plot and in whodunit style . The tale is almost grim , a priest comes to a town just in time to make sure its citizenry but later the events get worse . Main cast is frankly magnificent . Sympathetic Dean Martin as as a reluctant card gambler and nice Robert Mitchum as a gun-toting preacher . First-rate Robert Mitchum in similar role and performance to ¨Night of the hunter¨ that was the acting of his life . In addition , Roddy McDowall steals the show as the cynic Nick . Supporting cast is extremely good such as Inger Stevens as Lily Langford , Katherine Justice as Nora Evers , John Anderson as Marshal Dana , Yaphet Kotto as Little George , Denver Pyle as Sig and Whit Bissell as Dr. Cooper , among others . Good Technicolor cinematography by Daniel F. Fapp . Enjoyable musical score ties up a top-notch Western package ; it is composed by the maestro Maurice Jarre . Furthermore , agreeable song by Dean Martin , including lyrics by Ned Washington . Watchable results for this offbeat Western .
This well-paced in cracking style flick is compellingly directed by Henry Hathaway and usually works very well , taking a firm grip on the action and suspense . Here he directs efficiently Dean Martin and with strong screen presence by Robert Mitchum , both of whom collaborated in some Western . Hathaway himself was only even nominated for an Oscar , but his movies themselves are testimony to his skills to heighten narrative tension and shoot action so exhilarating it made adrenalin run . He does the human touch and full of insight that accompanied him during most of his films and the story develops pleasantly in a large frame with an interesting plot and fully adjusted to the requirements of the action . Henry was a craftsman who had a long career from the 30s with successful films , and especially Westerns , as ¨Brigham Young¨ and ¨Raw Hide¨ . In his 60s Hathaway still got the vigour to make some fiery movies as ¨From Hell to Texas¨, ¨How the West was won¨, ¨Nevada Smith¨, and ¨Shoot out¨ . He was an expert on Western genre as he proved in ¨True grit¨ , ¨Five card stud¨ , ¨Nevada Smith¨ ,¨How the West was won¨ , ¨Rawhide¨ , ¨Brigham Young¨ , ¨Buffalo Stampede¨, ¨Garden of evil¨ and ¨The sons of Katie Elder¨. Rating : nice Western that will appeal to Robert Mitchum and Dean Martin fans .
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