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Lyda Kabanov and her assortment of buddies pose as leaders of the only church in Friendly, Texas, their intention being to rob the fortress-like bank built by the Brothers James, Dalton, and Younger to house their ill-gotten gold. Arriving in town on dust-covered feet, Lyda is introduced by phony evangelist Pious Blue as "my cousin" and she promptly opens her dress and displays her voluptuous charms. Written by
This is one of those movies that makes some of us laugh out loud no matter how many times we watch it, while it leaves other people cold, and to my mind that's one kind of classic. Calling it a "comedy" may be a little misleading, because it's more of a live-action cartoon -- it's not so much funny as it is silly, but it's silly in ways that have as much to do with the dialog as with the physical comedy. To me it has much in common with the Marx Brothers classics. So it's rather beside the point to discuss how good the acting wasn't, when to some of us just watching Kim Novak and Clint Walker trying to do comedy is itself highly entertaining. And although it does illustrate its moral ("Crime doesn't pay"? "Cheaters never win"?) in a form suitable for children (and also teaches the valuable lesson that bad people can be acting as clergymen, but that doesn't undercut religion itself), I think adults generally enjoy this film more than kids do. But not all adults.
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