GENERAL ELECTRIC THEATER "The Doctors of Pawnee Kill" 1957
This is an episode of the long running (1953-1962) anthology series, GENERAL ELECTRIC THEATER. There were 300 plus episodes made. This one is episode 19 from season 5.
This episode, a western, takes place in the frontier town of, Pawnee Kill. Two brothers, Lee Marvin and Kevin McCarthy are the town's Sheriff and Doctor. Marvin is the no nonsense, quick with the gun type. McCarthy thinks that Marvin is just a bit too much of a shoot first, talk later type.
Marvin's wife, Jean Howell is in bed ready any hour to have the couple's first child. While McCarthy is checking on Howell, shots are heard from down the street. Howell of course is worried for her husband. McCarthy grabs his bag and heads to see what happened.
He finds Marvin and his Deputy, William Challee, standing over the body of a local thug. The dead man is in the employ of a local land baron, Ted de Corsia. McCarthy looks the man over and declares him ready for Boot Hill. He has words with his brother over the shooting. Could Marvin not have just arrested the man? Marvin just looks at his brother and shakes his head.
The dead man's brother, gunman, Claude Akins, soon rides into town. He also works for de Corcia. Marvin knows that this is going to end up with further bloodshed. Akins joins de Corcia in the town saloon for a few shots before he heads off to go after Marvin.
McCarthy takes it upon himself to try and stop the fight. He joins de Corcia and Akins for a drink in the saloon. He tells the two men they can talk out their problems with no need for any blood-letting. De Corcia and Akins agree to a meeting. McCarthy heads to Marvin to explain the agreement.
Of course we all know that de Corcia and Akins have no intention of holding up their end. De Corcia has another of his men, Christian Pasques, hide in an alley. His job is to back shoot Marvin when he comes. McCarthy, watching out of a window, realizes that he has set his brother up to be killed. McCarthy grabs up a Winchester and steps out into the street. He pots Pasques with a single shot while Marvin outdraws Akins and his boss, de Corcia.
The Doc and the Sheriff then attend to Miss Howell for the delivery of a new bouncing baby.
This one is an excellent western with top work from both sides of the camera. Marvin does a nice turn as a Lawman in a change of pace bit for him. Both Akins and de Corcia have the villain thing down pat.
Former big screen man, Don Weis, moves things along at a brisk pace. One time Oscar nominated, John L Russell sits in the cinematography chair. He was nominated for his work on Hitchcock's, PSYCHO. Here Russell uses plenty of low angle shots and gives the episode an almost film noir look.
The screenplay was cranked out by N.B. Stone, who wrote two of my favourite big screen dusters, RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY and MAN WITH THE GUN. The story was by veteran writer, Thomas Thompson whose best known work is probably 1958's SADDLE THE WIND.
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