6.4/10
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Death of a Gunfighter (1969)

M | | Western | April 1969 (Austria)
A Texas town's council fires the town's old-fashioned marshal who refuses to resign, thus leading to violence from both sides.

Directors:

(as Allen Smithee), (as Allen Smithee)

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
Reviews
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Cast

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

Goofs

Near the end of the film you can see the electrical wires running (presumably buried for most of their length under the differently-coloured soil) to a man's body as he is 'shot'; the last yard or so of wire -which is presumably for the gunshot SFX- is clearly visible running towards the man's ankles. See more »

Quotes

Laurie Mills: They said it's only right and proper that I should give Luke a good Christian funeral. Fill him with formaldehyde and plaster down his hair so good Christian folk can come look at him on display like at a wax museum.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in El tiempo de la felicidad (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

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


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