The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw (1958) Poster

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Good frothy fun
gnb12 January 2008
This little-known Western will probably be most attractive to contemporary audiences for one reason only...Jayne Mansfield. And Jayne Mansfield fans will indeed not be disappointed with this charming little movie which pairs sassy Miss M with the straight-laced British actor Kenneth More.

More is incredibly charming in this movie (as he tends to be in most of his screen appearances) and plays well of fast-talking saloon owner Mansfield. This is probably Mansfield's best on-screen partnership since her Rock Hunter appearance with Tony Randall. Gorgeously photographed in sumptuous Deluxe colour and with some nifty saloon songs from Mansfield (dubbed by Conny Francis), this is a sweet, amusing little movie with solid performances from two highly likable actors.

Hopefully, its release in the JM box set will introduce this film to a new generation of viewers. While scarcely a cinema classic, it's a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

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A match made in heaven?
steve-362813 April 2008
Good family film - something particularly wholesome about Kenneth More - and I don't want to 'rain on the parade' (More is one of my favourite actors and 1958 one of my favourite years - see also: A Night to Remember', More et al 1958). But there does seem to be a lack of chemistry between More (Jonathan Tibbs) and Jayne Mansfield (Kate) - notwithstanding that this is primarily a spoof-western comedy rather than a RomCom. Did they actually get on? Some of the scenes with just the two of them are painfully laboured. But, yes, the film (due in no small part to the laconic ease of More) is entirely watchable, and the production values - even for this lightweight film - are as high as you would expect from any mainstream Hollywood film of the day.
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In the valley of love with Kenny Moore and Jayne Mansfield.
hitchcockthelegend23 February 2010
A British comedy Western filmed in Spain, starring a bastion of English acting (Kenneth Moore), an American sex-bomb (Jayne Mansfield) and directed by the man who brought us High Sierra & White Heat (Raoul Walsh}. Yes that's quite a hodge-podge of elements and it's no surprise to find that that's exactly what the film is; a mixture of fun froth and cringe inducing oddities.

The film is adapted by Howard Dimsdale from a short story written by Jacob Hay. The plot centres around Jonathon Tibbs (Moore), the young son of a family of English gunsmiths. He travels to the American West in the 1880s to sell firearms to the locals. While on stagecoach route he survives an Indian attack purely by stiff upper lip British luck, and then he inadvertently acquires a reputation of quickness on the draw due to his wrist mounted Derringer style weapon. Sensing an opportunity to finally clean up Fractured Jaw, which is in the middle of a war between The Lazy S & Box T factions, the mayor bluffs Tibbs into becoming the sheriff. Cue hilarity as the hopelessly ill equipped Englishman starts to clean up the town with the help of buxom saloon owner Kate (Mansfield) and his new family; the Indians.

The problems with the film are many, the over used fish out of water formula, the budget restrictions being over obvious and the glaringly blatant lack of chemistry between the two oddly casted leads-are just the ones that first spring to mind. Then you can add the bad idea to include the likes of Robert Morley and Sid James in your film, and give them next to no time on screen. So yes it's not too harsh to say that The Sheriff Of Fractured Jaw is a weak film in many ways. Yet it is funny, something that comes quite often with the fish out of water formula if the writing is clever enough. Mercifully Dimsdale's screenplay sets up a number of humorous set pieces and Walsh, tho long past his best, professionally puts them together.

Moore gives the whole British tenderfoot act his complete gusto, and Mansfield looks terrific; every inch the sex-bomb befitting her legacy. Some fine support comes from Henry Hull & Bruce Cabot, while the tunes (Mansfield dubbed by the brilliant Connie Francis), notably the gorgeous theme song "In The Valley Of Love," keep the film brisk and firmly footed in the light entertainment department. It's a film that if you dwell on it too much could drive you to distraction, but as time fillers go in the comedy Western sub-genre, it just about finishes above average and is recommended for like minded adults on a very rainy day. 6/10
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eileen-osullivan119 May 2011
I just loved this film. Kenneth Moore was inspired as the English gentleman buffoon. When you get that 'innocent abroad' persona - for example with Ali G in America; with 'The Idiot Abroad' etc, it's a brilliant tool for cutting through prevailing cultural norms, even if they are for example, whether it's etiquette to shoot first and speak later, or better to proffer a nice cup of tea. When he 'disarms' the injuns at the start of the film it's beautifully done and dead funny.

Jayne Mansfield is like a cartoon character, full blown - in a not quite 'Marilyn' way - and a reasonable foil for our Ken. Even her '50s starlet soon to be housewife' style of singing, (check out 'The Valley Of Love'), seemingly so inappropriate in a rough, tough saloon owner/ music hall glamour girl, fits in so neatly. The whole thing is a pastiche of the age - the 'civilized' 50s making sense of a wild, wild world, with a boy meets girl bottom line.

Like I said - brilliant! Oh and English classic comedian Syd James has a cameo role, so even better.
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grandma-118 July 2002
I just happened to be at my father`s house and he had the western channel on.Which my father is a diehard western fan.This movie came on and I couldn`t believe Jayne Mansfield was in a western.I decided to watch some of the movie and got interested in it.It was not one of the best movies I had ever seen but I did enjoy it.I thought Kenneth Moore was very good as the sheriff.I didn`t really care for the singing in this movie but I did enjoy seeing Jayne Mansfield.
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A funny,innocent,beautifully played Western.
ianlouisiana21 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A film with an extraordinary pedigree,a cast of fine actors,directed by one of the true mavericks of the studio system who worked with D.W.Griffith,"The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw"is a gem of a movie.So artless that is of course extremely artful,what appears as serendipity is in fact the result of good pros getting together and having a lot of fun whilst never taking their eye off the ball. Mr Kenneth More is immaculate as the Englishman Abroad,so well - mannered,well - dressed and well - spoken that in a lesser actor those characteristics might have seemed a parody,but Mr More,all breeze and confidence carries it off perfectly.America may no longer be a British colony but he doesn't have to believe it if he doesn't want to. He takes up with Miss Jayne Mansfield,the owner of the saloon and very innocent and appealing she is too.In 1958 her career was reaching its peak - if I may use such an expression - ,a young,winsome and tragically ill - fated actress who very few took seriously but who is - in my opinion - due for a reassessment in an era when women's achievements are considered in contexts other than those of their physical attributes. Mr Bruce Cabot and Mr Henry Hull are on hand to add authenticity to what is a fish - out - of - water comedy.Unlike other Western Brits (English Bob,say,or John Cleese in "Silverado")Mr More does not have a nasty streak.He is simply the old - fashioned decent English chap finding himself in a tricky situation a long way from home and muddling his way through. I have no idea why "The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw" was made,whether Mr Walsh owed the studio a picture of whether Rank thought Mr More's career might benefit from more U.S. exposure or whether somebody just thought it seemed like a good idea at the time,but after fifty years I'm happy to report that to me it still seems like a good idea,and with the passing of time it has become a funny rather touching movie that will please lovers of the Western because it is respectful of the genre and lovers of innocent beautifully played comedy because it is respectful of that genre too.
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British/American Western Comedy and considered the first European western to be filmed in Spain.
ma-cortes31 October 2014
A proper British gentleman named Jonathan Tibbs (Kenneth More) attempts to improve the fortunes of his uncle's (Robert Morley) London gun company is to sell their supplies in the Wild West such as his large rifles and small Derringer pistol . Tibbs traveling in the American West , when inadvertently takes place an Indian attack on the stagecoach in which he is a humble passenger (along with comical Brit Sidney James at a brief appearance) . Later on , the stagecoach gets to the nearest little town , as he arrives in troublesome Fractured Jaw which is being plagued by outlaws (William Campbell) and band wars . He then is appointed sheriff by Mayor Masters (Henry Hull) of the raucous town . A series of misunderstandings give him the completely fake reputation of being a skill gunfighter and he is inveigled into becoming a botcher sheriff . Meantime , two trigger-happy local ranchers (Bruce Cabot) squaring up against each other, along with unruly cowboys , villains and marauding Indians . It's as well he is getting advice from gorgeous innkeeper Kate (Jayne Mansfield).

Hilarious Western comedy in which Kenneth More as bungler sheriff shows his particular talent ; as he is a London gentleman turned into smooth-talking, fast-on-the-draw gunman . It includes a lot of humor , songs , sprawling , almost primitive action teeming across the screen . A rip-roaring Western/comedy as the conventions of the Wild West are turned upside down . This funny picture is a gag feast , plenty of humor , diverting situations and absurd sketches in Bob Hope style . Amusing and spasmodic comedy with expert comedian British Kenneth More acting in his stereotyped role by relinquishing creative control and concentrating on humor based on confusion and the known formula : ¨fish out water¨ along with nice inventive bits , skilfully combining the entertainment with the amusement . Kenneth More runs away with every cowboy cliché and even arranges to wind up with the girl . Busty as well sultry Jayne Mansfield who ropes the nervous Kenneth More/Jonathan Tibbs into marriage ; sassy and sweetie Jayne Mansfield sings some songs , though her singing voice is dubbed by Connie Francis . Here Jayne Mansfield was 6 weeks pregnant to Mickey Hargitay when production began . Important appearance by Hollywood veteran Henry Hull , as town Mayor and Bruce Cabot : John Ford's usual ; in addition , prestigious Brit secondaries such as Ronald Squire , Sidney James and Robert Morley and uncredited Al Mulock and Steven Berkoff as extra . Lively and adequate musical score by Robert Farnon including catching songs . Colorful as well as evocative cinematography by Otto Heller . The film has a historical interest , deemed to be the first Western shot in Spain in the following locations : Colmenar Viejo , La Pedriza and Manzanares Del Real , where were subsequently filmed lots of Paella and Spaghetti Western in the 60s and 70s .

The motion picture produced by Daniel M. Angel was middlingly directed by Raoul Walsh . From his starts in the silent cinema he achieved successful films until the 50s and forward , early 60s , when he was less dominant , but is still stayed lots of lusty adventure , stories of comradeship and friendship , and Raoul Walsh makes the most of plentiful action scenes . Walsh was an expert director of all kind genres but with penchant in Western as ¨Colorado territory¨ , ¨They died with their boots on¨, ¨Along the great divide¨, ¨Saskatchewan¨, ¨King and four queens¨ , ¨A distant trumpet¨ ; Adventure as ¨Thief of Bagdad¨, ¨Captain Horatio Hornblower¨, ¨World in his hands¨, ¨Blackbeard the pirate¨ , ¨Sea devils¨ ; Warlike as ¨Objetive Burma¨ , ¨Northern pursuit¨, ¨Marines let's go¨ ; and Noir film as ¨White heat¨, ¨High Sierra¨, ¨They drive by night¨, ¨The roaring twenties¨. And this acceptable ¨The sheriff of fractured jaw¨, rating : 5,5/10 ; fairly straightforward movie and passable Western comedy . This average Western film makes it of the lesser interesting of Raoul Walsh genre entries.
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Reviewers should talk about what they know, not what they think they know
Barbara-422 April 2010
In the first place, the cliché of the "fish out of water" might be over-used now, but it was hardly over-used in 1958. There are echoes of Bob Hope's Paleface and Son of Paleface, but those were ten years earlier.

Secondly, just because a movie might have had some scenes filmed in Spain does not make it a Spaghetti Western. Spaghetti Westerns are westerns produced by Italians and directed by Italians. That's where the name "spaghetti" comes from, see?

The Western is not my favorite genre, but I enjoy Kenneth Moore. Jayne Mansfield does an adequate job. My favorite is of course poor William Campbell as Keno.
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The English are taking over the west
raskimono17 July 2002
Kenneth More, the British Comedian stars in his first Hollywood movie with Jayne Maynesfield, the blonde bombshell in this spoof of westerns where a man who would rather drink tea than pick a gun tames the west. The film is well-directed by the veteran Michael Curtiz, is mildly amusing to extremely funny in parts. Jayne sings some songs, especially a catchy one with echoes. What else to say, good fluff.
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Fractured Jaw loses its charming new sheriff, and sassy sexy host and singer
weezeralfalfa7 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
A pleasant western farce, with Brit Kenneth More as Johnathan Tibbs, who shakes up the little Wild West town of Fractured Jaw. He just wanted to sell some British-made guns to the locals, but ends up shanghaied into becoming the latest in a series of recent sheriffs, the others having died by violent means....... Is Tibbs likely to fare any better? Well, many of the locals initially have a strong prejudice against him because he's obviously a Brit of good breeding, talking and acting: very different from the other men of this town, and probably a tinhorn when it comes to sheriffing. As Jane Mansfield(Kate), as the proprietor and singer of a saloon and boarding house discovers, he's less than handy at shooting firearms. And as the local Indians discover, he's never ridden a horse and, again, shows little aptitude in mounting or staying on a horse. But he has 2 assets that help him: He's not afraid to approach armed men, Including Indians) and talk to them. Also, he has a derringer up his sleeve, attached to his arm, that impresses everyone, who often submit to him after seeing it. Seeing this makes Kate change from acting surly toward him to deciding that maybe he is her ticket out of this forgotten town into the wide world of sophistication and urbanites......Kate lip-syncs to 3 songs sung by Connie Francis, and composed by Harry Harris. Two("Strolling Down the Lane with Bill", and "If the San Francisco Hills Could Only Talk") were sung as part of stage shows, with dancers in the background. The third: "In the Valley of Love", probably the best, was sung while accompanying Tibbs on a buckboard ride through a canyon, where the walls supposedly echoed her singing, enhancing it. Connie also sang this during the opening credits. Kate lost her strong Southern lingo, when singing......Although first billed, Robert Morley, as well as Robert Squire and David Horne, were only present in the rather brief beginning, when we supposedly are in the UK....William Campbell serves as Keeno, who has some hostile encounters with Tibbs....Henry Hull, as Mayor Masters, exhibits his signature bombastic personality, similarly seen in "Jesse James" 1939, for example.... Sidney James is the drunk in the initial stagecoach ride. .....Jonas Applegarth serves as the Indian Chief(Running Deer), who has a number of interactions with Tibbs, and serves as Kate's substitute father in her wedding to Tibbs....Charles Irwin serves as the undertaker, who is waiting for Tibbs to be shot dead......The climax involves a 4 -way battle in the boondocks, between the cowboys of the Lazy S and the Box T, who are gunning for each other, as well as for Tibbs, who is defended by Kate and her rifle. Eventually Tibbs' blood-brother Indians show up to tip the battle in Tibbs' favor. The two groups of cowboys agree to forget their differences, and behave in town....I enjoyed the film, for the most part. More and Hull, especially, are appropriately amusing, and Jane provides some serious eye candy, endearing sassiness and charm, whatever her deficiencies in acting might be. See it at YouTube.
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Some of the critics didn't like it! You can include me! But...
JohnHowardReid20 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Copyright 1958 by Daniel M. Angel Productions. Released through 20th Century-Fox. New York opening at the Paramount: 13 March 1959. U.S. release: January 1959. U.K. release: 21 December 1958. Australian release: 30 April 1959. Sydney opening at the Embassy. 9,900 feet. 110 minutes. (Cut to 102 minutes in Australia and the USA).

SYNOPSIS: In the mid-19th century, the English gunsmith house of Tibbs is in a state of near-bankruptcy. Consequently, Jonathan Tibbs decides to save the family business by journeying to that part of the world where guns are most popular — the American West. Armed with samples and confidence, he arrives in the lawless town of Fractured Jaw, checks in at Kate's Hotel and Saloon, and confounds one and all with his impeccable attire and speech, his tea-drinking habit, and his incredibly fast draw.

NOTES: Number 7 of the ten top attractions at the U.K. box-office for 1959.

Although credited only for her rendition of the title tune, Connie Francis looped Miss Mansfield's songs as well.

COMMENT: Heavy-handed but mildly funny western spoof, this variant of "Ruggles of Red Gap" and/or "Fancy Pants" received mixed reviews from the line-up of professional critics. I felt the movie offers little that's fresh or new, but (at least in its American version) it moves at a reasonable clip and is nothing if not enthusiastically enacted — especially by the colorfully costumed Jayne Mansfield.

OTHER VIEWS: Scarcely anything has been added to the old, old tune, and the few variations attempted show little inventiveness and quite a lot of dawdling. The result is that most of the humor is forced and the effect is pretty much that of a man laughing at his own joke. — Paul V. Beckley in the New York Herald Tribune.

Not to be missed... Who ever greenlighted the starring combo of Jayne Mansfield and Kenneth More has done themselves and filmgoers a good turn. These two effervescent personalities merge like bacon and eggs, and the result is a wave of yocks... Walsh has directed this cheerful skit about the wild, woolly west with vigor and pace... Miss Mansfield gives More hearty support, looks attractive in a big, bosomy way and sings two or three numbers very well. — Variety.
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campy western, lots of dubbing
ksf-210 June 2007
Jayne Mansfield plays Kate, boarding house owner, and into town comes Kenneth Moore, a gun salesman from England. Not only are the songs by Jayne dubbed, it sounds like some of the lines are too. Starts out slow, gets better as it goes along. The mayor and the Indian chief steal the movie. There are a few gags and laughs, sort of an early version of Mel Brooks "Blazing Saddles". Nothing real good in "Special Features" on the DVD, but I guess that's due to the fact it was filmed in 1958. No real surprises here... your run of the mill spaghetti western with some laughs thrown in. According to the DVD liner notes included, this was filmed in England and in Spain (?) Too bad they didn't do more with Robert Morley; could have spiced things up more.
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Excellent Western Spoof
djbrown-008979 April 2020
I do not get the haters towards The Sheriff Of Fractured Jaw. It is not Shane, The Searchers or The Big Country, it is a western spoof ( like Paleface, Son of Paleface and Ruggles Of Ted Gap). One point that those who do not like the movie believe is there is no chemistry between British Arms Merchant ( Kenneth More), who becomes Sheriff ( despite having no idea how to use a gun) and Saloon owner/entertainer Kate (Jayne Mansfield).,There is a lot of chemistry between them. From More's perspective ( and mine), just look at Jayne Mansfield. From Kste's perspective he is a gentleman. He knows how to act, is well mannered, well dressed and well spoken. Kate herself notes she would love to get away from Fractured Jaw and be around "His ( More's) kind of people." There is also the kissing scene, after she unsuccessfully tries to get him to learn to shoot. Why? he is distracted by her looks, The one thing I did not like was Mansfield and More Superimposed on a blue screen against a western setting ( Far too obvious there is a blue screen). Finally, If you like westerns and ( or) want to see what Jayne Mansfield looks like, watch this movie. It is important to note her films are rarely shown. Sheriff Of Fractured Jaw and The Girl Can't Help It are the most often screened, and even Fractured Jaw has only 19 posts, about it, which should tell you something. So if you get a chance to see it, do not miss this excellent western spoof. 9/10 stars.
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Fun and charming
TheLittleSongbird5 June 2011
By all means, not perfect, the story is rather predictable in that it uses the somewhat over-used fish-out-of-water formula, and there are one or two scenes due to the chemistry, the effectiveness of which is varied throughout the course of the film, of the leads feel laboured. However, The Sheriff of Fractured is a lovingly filmed movie with cinematography, sets and costumes set in the grand tradition of the genre that look beautiful, and there is a witty soundtrack including the touching In the Valley of Love. The script made me laugh and smile, Walsh's direction is great, Kenneth More is at his most diffident, Jayne Mansfield is appealing and sexy and it isn't everyday you see Sidney James as a drunk. So overall, it is a flawed, but fun and charming film. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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What better market
bkoganbing25 September 2014
Kenneth More and Jayne Mansfield star in The Sheriff Of Fractured Jaw which plays very much like a Carry On film. In fact Sid James of the Carry On company has a brief role as a drunken stagecoach passenger and kind of lends an official presence to this satire of the western. The Carry On crew would later film Carry On Cowboy which this bears some resemblance to.

The real model for this film is Destry Rides Again as Kenneth More plays a rather mild mannered Englishman who goes west to sell firearms, firearms manufactured by his father Robert Morley's company. More sells Morley on the fact that in the lawless American west what better place can the company find a better market.

Poor Moore he manages to get himself involved in a range war between two large ranches, gets appointed sheriff of the town of Fractured Jaw and gets made an adopted member of the local Indian tribe. But this was not without its pleasant side as he manages to also win saloon singer Jayne Mansfield. She's more like Wrangler Jane of F Troop than Marlene Dietrich.

Jayne gets three songs also and she's dubbed by the familiar voice of Connie Francis. Not that Connie doesn't sing them well, but we know that's Connie Francis coming from Mansfield. They should have used an unknown singer.

The film has its amusing moments, but it really is an overblown Carry On film.
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Jayne in the West
BandSAboutMovies13 August 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Raoul Walsh had an interesting career, going from acting as John Wilkes Booth in D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation to directing High Sierra, They Died With Their Boots On and The Naked and the Dead. Here, he travels to Spain - and Pinewood Studios - to shoot a comedy western with Kenneth More and Jayne Mansfield.

Originally intended to be a movie with Clifton Webb and Marilyn Monroe, this ended up being part of a three-movie deal 20th Century Fox made to film three movies in England. The studio was pushing Mansfield to take over for the temperamental Marilyn Monroe, but she upset execs by getting pregnant with her second child and missed days of work.

There's a decent supporting cast - Willaim Campbell (Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte), Robert Morley (Theater of Blood) and Bruce Cabot (King Kong) - and some great CinemaScope visuals. It's a trifle about More playing a British man who ends up becoming a sherriff and Mansfield as a tough saloon owner.

Mansfield sings a few songs here, but that's really the voice of Connie Francis.
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Comedy Western part 2
michaelarmer27 January 2020
This is a slightly above average Comedy Western, with Kenneth More in the lead role, More an English Gentleman being out of his comfort zone does well as the fish out of water Sheriff.

The tragic Jayne Mansfield looked great as the Saloon owner, although maybe a bit too much red lipstick, but acted OK as well. Its worth watching just for her.

This was reasonably well made, with good scenery, and the realistic looking western town, it had a good storyline and the supporting and character actors did ok, sometimes a bit too much character though.

But it was fun and interesting, and not too daft, like some westerns are.
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What a cute western spoof
HotToastyRag29 June 2020
I thought this would be the silliest movie ever, so silly that I would turn it off. It was actually really cute, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. So, even if you think that a western spoof about an English gentleman who accidentally becomes sheriff of a lawless town and courts saloon madam Jayne Mansfield, won't be your cup of tea, give it a chance and get ready to laugh.

Kenneth More wins the audience over quickly the way Bob Hope did in The Paleface. He's a proper English gent who gets in far over his head by a giant misunderstanding. His family business in England (headed by his father, Robert Morley) is to sell guns, but when he accidentally shows his merchandise to the wrong people in the wild west, he's thought to be a fast gunslinger. All at once, he's feared and catered to, and the crooked mayor, Henry Hull, appoints him as sheriff of the town.

This is a very fun movie that enjoys making fun of itself without coming across as ridiculous. Jayne Mansfield is the stereotypical saloon girl, Henry Hull is the stereotypical crooked politician, and Bruce Cabot is the stereotypical outlaw, but everyone has so much fun doing it. No one seems like they're about to laugh or that they're so far above westerns they deserve to make fun of it. Henry is fantastic, adding class and professionalism to the silly movie. He makes the most of every opportunity and steals the scene away from the leads more than a few times. Jayne is cute as a button and gets to lip-synch to a couple of Connie Francis songs, making audiences wonder why Marilyn Monroe was such a big deal. I recently read that this movie was supposed to star Marilyn and Clifton Webb, which I'm sure would have been just as adorable!
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Usual Stranger in Town
Goingbegging9 May 2020
Warning: Spoilers
The son of a long-established family firm of gunsmiths in Victorian London (Kenneth More) decides to look for new business in the American west. In the remote desert outpost of Fractured Jaw, he wins respect through his own invention of a miniature wrist-mounted pistol, and is declared local sheriff - a job nobody else has dared to accept, because of two violent local gangs. Against advice, he sells rifles to the Indians, who make him a blood-brother, and help him to keep the peace, to the amazement of everyone, including the sassy hotel-keeper (Jayne Mansfield), who becomes intrigued by this unlikely arrival in town.

The film has been declared Jayne's career-summit. Unfortunately she doesn't carry much conviction in her admittedly two-dimensional role, doubling as the saloon showgirl, her singing voice dubbed by Connie Francis, even though Jayne herself was a record artist. On this showing, she is nothing much more than dyed platinum and a generous frontage. And Monroe-like, she would soon slide into degradation and early death.

As for Kenneth More, he is at least twenty years too old for the part. The use of a body-double for the rough stuff is all too transparent, and the chemistry with Jayne just isn't there at all. The comic impact of a jolly English gent in a Savile Row suit dodging bullets in the desert is not strong enough to carry the film, and it becomes wincingly embarrassing to hear lines like "What's the meaning of this behaviour?" as he tries to assert law and order like a school prefect.

I suppose we should remember that this was 1958, when you could still get away with cliché situations, and dialogue like weak lemonade. In fact, just the next year, Bob Hope gave us 'Alias Jesse James', which clearly references much of this film, without rising above its mediocre level.

The truly comic moments are few enough to list here. When he's showing off the miniature pistol to Jayne, she says she'd like one to wear in her garter. When the Indians offer Kenneth More five distinctly unappealing wives ("A brave can have many wives"), he replies "I'm not that brave." The mere sight of Jayne arriving in the middle of a gunfight in a long dress and pointing a rifle, is good comedy, even without dialogue. And there's a nice touch at the end, with Indians suddenly charging around the bridal carriage making whooping noises. When Jayne screams out "Indians!", More is able to reassure her: "No, darling. Relatives."
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Did this count as entertainment even fifty years ago?
csrothwec9 November 2008
Kenneth Moore usually had a very acute sense of his acting limitations and the type of appearance which would use the talents he undoubtedly had to the full. He was thus usually very enjoyable to watch, ('Genevieve', 'The Thirty Nine Steps'. 'A Night to Remember'), and, in one case, (in terms of films - his later TV appearances, such as in the first BBC 'Forsythe Saga' is something different), his talents coincided exactly with the demands of the film to produce a really good, memorable film, ('Reach for the Sky'). Unfortunately, his usual caution failed him entirely in this sad excuse of an 'entertainment' movie. It is lavishly produced on an epic, Cinemascopic scale, (and one presumes his fee for appearing was commensurate). It has one of the best directors in the field, (Roaul Walsh), and a stock of standard 1950s British support characters, (inevitably including Sidney James), in attendance as well. Beyond this, however, it has nothing at all going for it. The essential humorous 'core' of the film, (the incongruity of Moore's upper class Englishman amongst the crudities, (and what, even by the 1950s, were becoming stereotypical film clichés), of the 'Wild West'), wears off after about the first fifteen minutes and becomes increasingly tiresome as the film progresses. The 'plot' is wafer-thin and recourse has to be made to inserting songs, (which have not worn at all well over the decades and are all instantly forgettable), in order to 'entertain' the audience. To make matters worse, the background scenery does not even LOOK like 'the Wild West', (but, rather, a cross between the Yorkshire Dales and North Wales). Finally, (oh dear, oh dear), there is Miss Mansfield's 'performance'. Full marks for effort and determination, but whether it is through trying to comprehend what she is saying in her 'southern drawl', (which seems to change almost from scene to scene, but still remains largely impenetrable for long stretches of the film), or from listening to her warbling attempts to get through the aforementioned songs, one unfortunately just has to draw the conclusion that she simply 'did not have it' in terms of being a star to carry a film in a lead role. Her physical resemblance to Munroe is obviously a strong one, but, as this film shows all too clearly, was just not enough in itself to build a career on in films. Overall, then, a sad affair and waste of talents and resources through inappropriate usage. One for passing a couple of hours if one is really ill/down in the dumps on a wet afternoon and just wants something to 'pass the time' before tea, but is unlikely ever to want to see again.
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Has its moments, but not nearly enough of them--and Mansfield's awful
fredcdobbs52 September 2014
A comedy that takes a cultured, well-bred Englishman and plops him down in the middle of the American "Wild West" wasn't new when this film was made ("Ruggles of Red Gap" did it in 1918 and was remade at least twice) but this isn't a prime example of the premise. Although he's a bit too old for the part, Kenneth More does a good job as a gun salesman for a British firearms company owned by his family who is sent to the West to sell his family's products and the Spanish scenery fits in quite well for the American west. Veteran character actor Henry Hull gleefully chews the scenery as the crotchety, scheming mayor who finagles More into taking the job of sheriff of the tough, wild town of Fractured Jaw, which is plagued by a feud between the forces of two local ranchers and troubles with local Indians, with Bruce Cabot playing the head of one of the warring factions. On the downside, the rest of the supporting cast is weak and much of the humor falls flat.

However, the film's biggest negative is Jayne Mansfield, playing a tough saloon singer who falls for More. She's just, to put it charitably, awful. She can't act to save her life, but her acting wasn't the reason she was hired for this--or any other--picture. She had done comedies before ("Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter", "The Girl Can't Help It") so she had some idea of how to deliver lines, but you sure couldn't tell by her performance in this film. She's inept to the point of embarrassment. Her chest was her single biggest talent (or talents, depending on your point of view) and even that's not enough to carry a picture. She and More have no chemistry whatsoever, and even though More gives it "the old college try", there's just nothing there.

Her incompetence ruins what potential the picture had, but given the script's limitations and usually reliable director Raoul Walsh's heavy-handed direction, it really didn't have a whole lot of potential to begin with. I don't know if it was a hit or not--it may have been in England, but I can't see how American audiences would have taken to it. Western comedies don't have a particular good success record overall--"Blazing Saddles" notwithstanding--and this picture is a good example of why. There are, at most, three reasons to watch this film, Kenneth More's amusing performance being one of them, but otherwise, forget it.
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Not funny then, even less funny now.
Zipper6910 June 2010
Two stars for Ms Mansfield's obvious charms (oh for 3D!).

More was (and knew he was) an actor of limited range, essentially he played himself and did it well. His early work in the "Doctor" films is pleasing and his skillful creation of Douglas Bader in "Reach for The Sky" made the man a lot more charming than he REALLY was.

He was in effect, to the 1950's what Hugh Grant was to the 1990's: a soft spoken inoffensive Englishman, well bred and thrust into situations where his good breeding kept him afloat.

In this "Western" he is the scion of a British gunmaker sent to the Wild West to sell the companies wares. Let's be frank, More was TOO OLD for the part, although trim and dark haired he was clearly middle aged and the "Hugh Grant schtick" of youth and lack of worldly experience looks foolish.

Ms Mansfield looks decorative and the cinch waisted outfits certainly display her "talents" - sadly her acting is mostly wooden and distracted and the lack of chemistry between the leads is obvious.

The distraction of seeing so many British actors mugging, and mangling their vowels to sound American just reinforces my opinion that this is a dud and should be shelved next to "Space Mutiny" (see elsewhere)
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