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"Maverick" Family Pride (1961)

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Who's on Top?

7/10
Author: dougdoepke from Claremont, USA
11 July 2008

Shrewd screenplay that captures the spirit of the series and brings that irreverence to a humorous and fitting conclusion. Opening scene is a hoot as Honest John Crippen (Robert Cornthwaite) outsmarts Beau (Roger Moore) in a stagecoach bet, that proves that series heroes such as the Mavericks are not infallible. This sets the dramatic stage for the events that follow since it shows that those who live by their wits (Mavericks) can also suffer by their wits just as the conventional gunmen of a thousand and one less imaginative series are said to do. So it's con-men vs. con-men, as the two sides battle over an ostensibly worthless plot of land, while deceptions and money change hands faster than an electro-shock in a rainstorm. It's a highly entertaining 60 minutes, with a number of unpredictable twists and turns.

What a fine assemblage of veteran actors (Pyle, Swenson,Cornthwaite), each delivering a yeoman performance,while even newcomer Anita Sands shines-- just count her lines during the winsome first thirty minutes. Note too, how cleverly the script treats Mrs. Hale (Dorothea Lord) who turns out to be not so different from the rest of us contrary to the expectations of the time. This is a particularly sophisticated screenplay that treats the characters as fallible human beings instead of the customary paragons of virtue required by the Standards and Practices. Great ending that carries forward the Maverick idea. Though it's all highly amusing tongue-in-cheek, make no mistake, the screenplay is an unconventional one for the pre-Vietnam 1960's.

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