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Death of a Gunfighter (1969)

M  |   |  Western  |  April 1969 (Austria)
6.4
Your rating:
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 692 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 12 critic

In the turn-of-the century Texas town of Cottownwood Springs, marshal Frank Patch is an old-style lawman in a town determined to become modern. When he kills drunken Luke Mills in ... See full summary »

Directors:

(as Allen Smithee) , (as Allen Smithee)

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Marshal Frank Patch
...
Claire Quintana
...
Lester Locke
David Opatoshu ...
Edward Rosenbloom
Kent Smith ...
Andrew Oxley
...
Laurie Mills
...
Ivan Stanek
Larry Gates ...
Mayor Chester Sayre
...
Doc Adams
...
Lou Trinidad
Darleen Carr ...
Hilda Jorgenson
...
Dan Joslin
...
Arch Brandt
Jimmy Lydon ...
Luke Mills (as James Lydon)
...
Mary Elizabeth
Edit

Storyline

In the turn-of-the century Texas town of Cottownwood Springs, marshal Frank Patch is an old-style lawman in a town determined to become modern. When he kills drunken Luke Mills in self-defense, the town leaders decide it's time for a change. They ask for Patch's resignation, but he refuses on the basis that the town on hiring him had promised him the job for as long as he wanted it. Afraid for the town's future and even more afraid of the fact that Marshal Patch knows all the town's dark secrets, the city fathers decide that old-style violence is the only way to rid themselves of the unwanted lawman. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Marshall Patch... he lived by the law of the gun...

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

April 1969 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Patch  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Star Richard Widmark and original director Robert Totten had "artistic differences," and Totten was replaced by Don Siegel. When the film was completed, Siegel, saying that Totten directed more of the film than he did, refused to take screen credit for it, but Widmark didn't want Totten's name on it. A compromise was reached whereby the film was credited to the fictitious "Alan Smithee" (originally to be called Al Smith, but the DGA said there had already been a director by that name), thereby setting a precedent for directors who, for one reason or another, did not want their name on a film they made. See more »

Quotes

Wil Oxley: Why did my father kill himself?
Marshal Frank Patch: I don't know, son.
Wil Oxley: Tell me! Tell me!
Marshal Frank Patch: A long time ago, a man was killed... shot in the back.
Wil Oxley: My father did it?
Marshal Frank Patch: Nobody knew for sure who did it.
Wil Oxley: You knew. Why didn't he hang?
Marshal Frank Patch: There was nothing to be gained by hanging. The dead man had a child - a son. Your father agreed to raise him as his own.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Who Is Alan Smithee? (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

SWEET APPLE WINE
Lyrics Carol Hall
Music Oliver Nelson
Sung by Lena Horne
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Death of the old west
7 December 2010 | by See all my reviews

"Death of a gunfighter" belongs to the crepuscular western genre which would become prominent in the seventies with such works as "the shootist" .The hero (masterfully played by Richard Widmark as brilliant as ever) is definitely a man of the past ;twenty years go ,when he began his job of a marshal ,the street was not safe and the way of the gun was the only one .Now,the town longs for respectability,for a "modern" Police .The unsung hero has not realized that history is a jet plane : there are photographs in the rooms and the first automobiles (like in Sam Peckinpah's " ballad of Cable Hogue") will pretty soon leave the horse-drawn carriages far behind .

The title speaks for itself :the marshal's fate is sealed as soon the movie begins .The old people are blasé or tired .there are two young lads ,one of them an orphan is excited by his employer's daughter ,and although she throws him a line twice,he can't make up his mind to go all the way;the other one ,after a tragic loss,thinks he can take laws in his hands and become a gunfighter like his enemy.

The atmosphere of the movie is gloomy : it begins with a woman in mourning and ends the same way.A priest is saying prayers in the saloon as a man is dying.A wedding is to take place after a funeral.This is not your average action-packed western ,it looks like a dirge


4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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