Mace Bishop (James Stewart) masquerades as a hangman in order to save his outlaw brother, Dee (Dean Martin), from the gallows, runs to Mexico chased by Sheriff July Johnson's (George Kennedy's) posse and fights against Mexican bandits.
Sharpshooters Zack Thomas and Joe Jarrett are in a Texan stage-coach and manage to fight off Matson's robber gang, so afterward they can fight over the $100,000 cash carried by a railroad official. Both make it to Galveston, where each, including vexed Matson, meets up with respective accomplices in various dirty schemes. The money keeps changing hands and the scene shifts to a river boat, which should multiply the winnings as a casino, but the crooks and bullets follow.Written by
Jesus Loves Me
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Bloated star vehicle
Meeting each other on a stagecoach full of money where they both defend it from Matson's attack, Zack Thomas and Joe Jarrett immediately get off to a bad start when Jarrett steals the money. When the two later come up against each other in the town where Zack is in charge under the control of the corrupt banker Harvey Burden. However while they plot against each other, bigger forces in the town have a much darker conspiracy.
I watched this as a reasonable fan of the rat pack and their cocky, wise-cracking sense of humour that they usually bring to their films. However here that is almost totally lacking. With the exception of the opening 15 minutes, the film is almost totally devoid of fun. The film opens with Jarrett and Thomas against each other in a simple robbery, however it later meanders through cat and mouse games (which don't work) until it gets to the obvious conclusion (which is so lazy that it even ends with Martin saying `and, oh yeah, this is the end').
None of the action or dialogue is even remotely funny or fun. The whole vehicle had the same kind of movement that Martin's steamer displays heavy, sluggish and relentlessly moving forward no matter what, these things are not good qualities in a comedy western. I really wanted to like the film, but there was even too little of value for me. The two leads are OK but really have nothing to work with at all, they have one reasonable scene together at the start but from then they are just freewheeling along. Support from Charles Bronson, Jack Elam, Andrews, Buono and the Three Stooges is all pretty wasted and no one is really given very much to work with at all.
Overall this is an example of a poor film from the Rat Pack lifeless, self indulgent and lacking in fun or wit, made solely on the basis of the two stars being famous and thus bringing an audience with them when the film plays. A bit more wit and sparky dialogue in the script and the loss of some running time could have vastly improved what is really a pretty poor film.
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