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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)
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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

John Wayne and Clint Eastwood were considered for the lead role. 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

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

 
Another unsung classic that needs remembering
27 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

How many times have I seen films on television which have astounded me with their depth and profundity and whose titles I have never heard before? Or which never come up in discussions of the classics? Death of a Gunfighter was one such movie. (The Devil's Doorway from 1950 with Robert Taylor is another.) Gazineo from Brasilia rightly compared DoaG with the Shootist (John Wayne) as portraying the passing of the frontier into more modern political structures. Especially the sharply etched scenes in the town council showing all the ethnics (Cathoic priest, Jewish merchant) being led around by the nose by the progressive Episcopalian (or whatever denomination he's supposed to be.) But there's one movie nobody has compared this film to: High Noon (Gary Cooper). DoaG is like a "High Noon noir." In High Noon the hero manages to conquer his enemies entirely on his own despite being deserted by the Establishment. But in DoaG the members of the whole establishment are the enemies and the hero does not manage to conquer them; on the contrary they get their own way most gruesomely in the end. This is somewhat of a unique plot in the history of westerns. Beautiful music by Oliver Nelson (1932-1975). What a loss to the movies! Imagine Carroll O'Connor in a pre-Archie Bunker role. That's a rarity in itself! When classic westerns are discussed DoaG must be included..


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