A Time for Dying (1969) Poster

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5/10
Just for Audie
zboston322 October 2011
I'm an Audie Murphy and have been steadily working my way through his movies. I'd heard of this, his last film, and not favorably - low production values, bad acting, Audie looking fat and old.

Well I have to agree with the first two criticisms. I can't understand how this film has been given 7 stars, but the part about Audie is wrong, wrong, wrong. When he comes onto the scene,he simply towers over the other actors, the whole movie. He's so good, and it's a real shame that he didn't live longer.

It would have been interesting if he had taken some of the other roles he was offered, such as the villain in DIRTY HARRY. It would have been a whole new direction for him, but then contemporary movies were never his thing. His whole style may have been best suited for Westerns.
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5/10
Audie Murphy's Last Western Is Pretty Mediocre
zardoz-1322 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"Cimarron Kid" director Budd Boetticher's last western "A Time for Dying" shares a common narrative thread with his cult Randolph Scott sagebrushers from the 1950s. The stark outdoors action unfolds as part of a journey of self-discovery and initiation for the twentysomething hero and heroine in the rugged southwest. Indeed, this picaresque adventure follows a young man who is swift on the draw with his six-guns and later a young girl who becomes his wife as they make their way to and from the notorious Texas town of Silver City. Along the way, our hero and heroine encounter two prominent historical figures, Jesse James and Judge Roy Bean.

Sadly, this 67-minute Boetticher picture lacks those classic qualities that distinguished his earlier oaters. The characters are sympathetic, but far from charismatic. The actor and actress were unknowns. Audie Murphy, who produced this low budget film, appears briefly as the infamous Jessie James and his presence marginally enhances the film, while Victory Jory all but steals the show with his hillbilly portrayal of the infamous hanging judge. "A Time for Dying" suffers, too, from a downbeat ending.

"A Time for Dying" opens with a sharp shooting horseman Cass Dunning (Richard Lapp of "Barquero"), blasting the head off a rattlesnake (apparently a real 'live' rattlesnake) as it is about to strike a baby rabbit. Three riders confront Cass and warn him about wearing his matched pair of six-guns tied down when he rides into nearby Silver City. When Cass challenges Billy Pimple (Robert Random of "Time Walker") about this Silver City rule, Pimple points out that he is the exception to the rule and slaps his Colt revolver that he affectionately calls 'Thunder' and 'Lightning.' Later, Cass encounters this predicament in a Silver City saloon when the patrons and the barkeep warn him about wearing sidearms tied down. Before Pimple and his cohorts ride away, Pimple tells Cass about the new girl scheduled to arrive in Silver City. She is going to be employed at Mamie's brothel, and everybody is awaiting her arrival. Anyway, Cass spots the picture of the girl that Pimple was talking about in the saloon and he asks the barkeep and patrons about Billy Pimple. The barkeep says that Pimple is itching to be the next Billy the Kid and has 'the deposition of a rattlesnake in the sun.' Pimple had bought everybody drinks on the house because he was such a sharp shooter himself. Cass demonstrates his prowess with a pistol and the barkeep clamors that Cass' shooting skills surpass Pimple.

When the stagecoach arrives, Cass rides to Nellie Winter's (Anne Randall of "The Split") rescue and carries her off with him. Nellie explains that she has had a difficult time finding a decent job. She says, "A decent job doesn't always mean the men folks will stay decent." Cass tells her that he rescued her because Nellie is the prettiest girl that he has ever seen. Moreover, he didn't want any of the men touching her. Cass has determined that he wants to become a bounty hunter. They ride into Vinegaroon, Texas, and check into a hotel.

While Nellie sleeps in the bed with her clothes in the room, Cass slumbers in the hallway with a chair tilted back against the wall and his Winchester cradled in his arms. Two of Judge Roy Bean's deputies surprise and disarm him and arrest Nellie and Cass because they have violated the 'indecent conduct' law of not registering as man and wife. Judge Roy Bean (Victor Jory of "Dodge City" who bears a remarkable resemblance to Bean) convenes his court and sentences a young horse thief to hang for his crimes. Afterward, Bean marries Cass and Nellie and tells them that they will get a hotel room to celebrate their wedding.

Later, Bean releases them and sends them on their way with a horse for Nellie to ride. Cass tells Nellie that his father is his only relative, and Nellie states that both her parents are deceased. Cass gives her a demonstration of his sharp shooting skills and Nellie is impressed. About this time, Jesse James (Audie Murphy of "The Cimarron Kid") rides up and disarms Cass. Nevertheless, Jesse admires Cass' shooting prowess. If Cass ever wants to join him, Jesse will be happy to accommodate him.

Later, a gang gets the drop on Cass and abducts Nellie and takes her into Silver City. Eventually, Cass has a showdown with Pimple and Pimple kills him when Cass refuses to draw on him.

Apart from Murphy's single scene in the movie, Boetticher's savory dialogue and lenser Lucian Ballard's color cinematography are the best assets of "A Time for Dying."
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3/10
Audie's swansong
a.lampert30 November 2020
What a strange little picture. Audie Murphy, like Randolph Scott, has a place in second tier western heroes that is unassailable. By second tier, that's not to denigrate either actor, just that they never attained the heights of movie stardom like James Stewart, John Wayne or later Clint Eastwood did in westerns. Sadly, this marked the final screen appearance of Audie Murphy, and only five minutes of the picture. The leading actor is Richard Lapp. Who? You might wonder why Audie Murphy decided as a producer to invest in this nobody. It's a mystery to everyone who's seen it. He came and went unnoticed. There's one really great performance in the movie with Victor Jory as Judge Roy Bean though, so all is not lost. Not as subtle and menacing as Walter Brennan's portrayal in an earlier film but over the top sort of great, announcing hangings with great glee and his dentures falling out. The director, Budd Boetticher, who made seven fine, even great minor westerns starring Randolph Scott, must have been drunk when he made this. There's no real explanation as to how this film went so badly wrong but I've given it 3 stars, one each for the beautifully clear cinematography, Audie Murphy as Jesse James (all too briefly) and best of all, Victor Jory.
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7/10
Excellent but a bit of a downer
Tonino10116 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Audie Murphy makes his last appearance on screen as Jesse James, and an excellent Jesse James he is (I wish he had more screen time here!) But the film is much more than just an Audie Murphy vehicle. Victor Jory's portrayal of the infamous sadistic judge Roy Bean is hard to forget. It is good to see Anne Randall in her pre-"Westworld" days. The little-known Richard Lapp is convincing as a farm boy and a bounty hunter wannabe Cass Bunning, and so is Bob Random as a neurotic wannabe bandit Billy Pimple who tries to establish himself as a bandit and as a gunfighter. Good actors' work throughout the film!

Made on a low budget and only lasting 67 minutes, the film nevertheless provides food for thought. It makes you think about trying to use your fighting skills despite having no previous experience - and then your whole life slips out of your sweaty hands like a couple of pistols. You may be lucky once or twice, but not the third time. You want "fun" and you go into town with your wife that you saved from a whorehouse, even though you could take her straight to your ranch. As a result, you end up dead, and your wife ends up in the same whorehouse you saved her from. As I said, it is a bit of a downer but still an excellent western. Well done, Mr. Budd Boetticher!
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3/10
A sad little tale
bkoganbing27 July 2020
A Time For Dying marksa farewell for both producer Audie Murphy and director Budd Boettticher. Both of them did some really good westerns and sad they went out on this badly acted and disjointed tale.

The two leads Richard Lapp and Anne Randall give some truly insipid peformances and villain Bob Random overacts out of proportion to his role. Not that he's the only one overacting. Victor Jory playing Judge Roy Bean and he really goes to town in a part that calls for it. In a turkey you gobble vigorously and Jory is the best in the film.

Audie Murphy plays Jesse Jamesrepeating a role he did in Kansas Raiders years earlier. He's an older and wiser Jesse now and offers some sage advice to a[[ who is too dumb to take it.

A sad mediocre film way beneath the talents of drector and prodcuer.
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1/10
even a bad spoof
sandcrab27729 May 2018
At first i thought it was a spoof but it kept getting worse until i couldn't stand it anymore...the only thing good about it was anne randall but would have gotten better if she shed her clothes
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2/10
A Dying Career
angelsunchained17 February 2022
Dismal and sad ending to the career of Audie Murphy. Shoe string budget Z film with a cast of obscure actors and actresses, except for some ancient character actors like Victor Joey. Murphy is only in this film a few minutes; his screen career had hit rock bottom and I really can't figure out why. Always like Murphy and he had a pleasant on screen persona. Skip this film and remember Audie Murphy in his standout role n From Hell And Back.
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1/10
Wish I had that time back
jastpeel-239-55538127 January 2021
Warning: Spoilers
I told my wife that while this wasn't the dumbest movie I've ever seen it definitely was the worst one I've seen today. I can't believe how horrible this thing was. Even Audie Murphy couldn't save it with his 4 minute appearance.
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This should have been a great movie, with Audie Murphy and Victor Jory.
milwhitt70222 February 2014
I saw this movie while living at Cumberland MD, at a Drive in Theatre. I went to see it because Audie Murphy was in it as well as one of my old favorite "voices" Victory Jory. It was reported earlier that this movie would not be shown in the United States, but it was in 1972-or 73. I ought to know because that's when I lived in Cumberland. As a child listening to the radio in the 1930s and '40's, I could recognize the voice instantly of Victory Jory, Howard Duff (Sam Spade)and Curly Bradley as Tom Mix. There also was a time when I recognized the voice of Gordon Nance (Wild Bill Elliott)on certain mystery shows. By the time I was going to the movies, I knew all those voices and was so happy to see their faces for the first time.
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3/10
Rather directionless and filled with many familiar western cliches.
planktonrules25 May 2021
The plot for "A Time for Dying" is rather directionless. It also tosses in practically every western personality, location and cliche....as well as a super down-beat ending that will leave most viewers cold and disappointed.

The story is about a young man and young woman. Oddly, instead of the usual famous actors and actresses in the lead, these two are unknowns and. Richard Lapp, in particular, seems very much unlike leading man material. A variety of adventures occur to them...including Judge Roy Bean marrying them against heir will, a run-in with Jesse James and his band of outlaws as well as a run-in against Billy the Kid and his band of outlaws. And, it all ends very poorly.

There wasn't a lot I liked about this film. I did not like the writer tossing in all sorts of characters and places (such as Silver City) instead of focusing on story. I also didn't like the whole showdown on main street at the end. Fist, it didn't make sense. Second, such showdowns never actually occurred out west. I taught American history....and this sort of thing just didn't happen. Overall, a poor western with little to recommend it...no, nothing to recommend it.

By the way, you see a lot of saguaro cacti in the film. These are the very tall cacti...usually with branched arms. Well, such cacti only grow in mid-southern Arizona and Mexico. The film was supposedly set in West Texas and Nevada....and saguaro do NOT grow there like they do in the film.
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1/10
I cant believe Budd Boetticher wrote and directed this awful western.
michaelt-4141512 January 2021
I dont think ive ever seen a worst western.

I had a job to stick with it. I nearly turned it off half way through.

I cant think of anything positive to say about it so I wont bother.
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1/10
A cheap jack production
sirjasonwright23 March 2006
The Western Is my favourite genre, but how I was disappointed by this movie. Audie Murphy In my opinion was better suited In a supporting role alongside a movie heavyweight such as Burt Lancaster In the Unforgiven. This film Is terrible, low production values and a made for t.v look and feel. You see Audie for all of 5 minutes and that Is the only value to the film. The rest of the actors are useless, my local am-dram club has better hams! I was hoping for a good movie with director Budd Boetticher at the helm but alas It Is a stinker! The worst western I have ever seen! The main character played by You've NEVER HEARD OF HIM BEFORE OR SINCE Richard Lapp gets my vote for the worst haircut ever!
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4/10
A sad finale
johnwinn1 March 2021
Due to financial constraints this movie was shorter than planned. Thank goodness. A sad finale for both producer and director.
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2/10
Worst western I've seen in years
paul-rose7-246-6182329 June 2020
Whoever wrote this script must have either been drunk at the time or hated westerns one of my favourite genres. Had Audie Murphy sadly not died ghis film was so bad it would have killed his career. The production was cheap, the actors hammy and the ending disastrous.
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3/10
Watched this with a growing sense of sadness
gps6429 August 2022
Knowing what we now know of PTSD'S effect on Audie Murphy, watched he and Boetticher's swan song with mixed emotions. The primary one being sadness. Can't think of another film that left me feeling hollow. One is left to wonder what possessed Victor Jory, one of filmdom's great actors, to lend him to this. Sad.
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1/10
Worst of worst
cutbanksam-971873 March 2021
Worst western I have ever seen and I've seen a lot of them. One of the worst movies ever. So terrible I wrote my first review. That is how strongly I feel about how bad it is
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