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Serious Western by Richard Thorpe and with Glenn Ford as an ex-gunfighter trying to live a pacific existence
ma-cortes4 October 2011
This Western deals with an aging ex-gunslinger (Glenn Ford) become marshal and challenged to a duel by a rough young (Chad Everett). He is searching for peace and quiet but unable to avoid his reputation and the showdown-challenges it invites .

This is a mature , humourless Hollywood Western with Ford as the gunman turned sheriff attempting and inevitably failing to runaway from his past . It carries a surprising feeling of authenticity for a Western of this twilight period . The filmmaker is good at staging some action sequences , however is slow-moving and developed with dry sense of entertainment . The picture is produced in medium budget by Metro Goldwyn Mayer where the director Richard Thorpe spent 33 years in the same studio and he was to become the longest-servicing filmmaker in their story . In time he became known as the studio's ¨one take¨ because of his rapid shooting schedules . The flick relies heavily on tiring relationship between Glenn Ford and Angie Dickinson who plays a Saloon owner , formerly call-girl . There are good supporting portrayals from Gary Merrill as tough cardsharp , Royal Dano as drunk Indian chief and Jack Elam in his usual role as outlaw .

The picture is professionally directed by Richard Thorpe , though with no originality . Richard liked making escapist movies and many of them have rousing action scenes , handled with great confidence . He directed lesser Western and thrillers when he moved into features in 1924 and did little of note before joining MGM in 1935 . Thorpe made routine studio fare until 1950s when he was given more major assignment . He then made various big-budget productions financed by Pando S Bergman among his best known films are all the MGM Tarzans following his arrival at the studio in 1935 and a series of swashbuckling adventures in the early 1950s featuring Robert Taylor , the most successful of these were three swashbucklers made in England as ¨Knights of Round Table , Ivanhoe and Quentin Durward¨ . Thorpe was an expert on all kind of genres as Western as ¨Vengeance valley , Wild horse , Under Montana skies and Last challenge¨ but his specialty resulted to be adventures as ¨Prisoner of Zenda , The prodigal , Challenge to Lassie , Malaya , Tarzan's secret treasure ,Tarzan escapes , Tarzan finds a son¨ and Musicals as ¨Fun in Acapulco , Rainbow over Broadway , The prince student¨ and his biggest money-maker to date was ¨The great Caruso¨ and his last big box-office hit was ¨Presley' Jailhouse Rock¨ . He also worked briefly in television before retiring in 1968 , his last film was ¨The last challenge', also titled ¨The Pistolero of Red River ¨.
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The Adult western has arrived
bkoganbing14 August 2005
With elements of the TV western Gunsmoke and the film High Noon in it, The Last Challenge is a worthy addition to the western genre. All the players involved have done westerns before and look very comfortable in their roles.

Glenn Ford is the town marshal and the fastest draw in these here parts and when you're the former, it sure helps if you're the latter. He's got a gal pal in Angie Dickinson who's a combination of Miss Kitty and oddly enough Grace Kelly in High Noon. Because oddly enough a confident young gun hand played by Chad Everett has come to town and he's got Angie worried.

Let's just say that Angie makes a move that Kitty would never even contemplate insofar as Matt Dillon was concerned. It costs her big time.

The western as an adult theme arrived in this film because we have a scene with Glenn and Angie sleeping in a big double bed. We never got to Ms. Kitty's bedroom in Gunsmoke and a scene of a man and woman in the same bed was something never contemplated in the past. Not even that very married couple Roy Rogers and Dale Evans would have heard of such a thing.

What happens with Glenn and Chad. You have to watch the film to find out. But I will say you'll see an ending very much influenced by High Noon.
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"If you mean will I kill you..the answer is still yes!"
Nazi_Fighter_David1 July 2001
The western showdown is as ritualistic as a bullfight which, in many respects, it resembles... The end is as quick, clean and emotionless as the dispatch of a brave fighting bull by the matador... The outcome is usually as predictable but the clash is a heightened moment of suspense that is as exciting as anything the cinema has ever produced...

Richard Thorpe, a reliable director of all genre, and one of MGM's most prolific filmmaker since 1935 directed and produced 'The Last Challenge'/'The Pistolero of Red River.'

Wanting a particular personal style, Thorpe never directed a great motion picture, but had a consistently acceptable batting average as a director of fine, unpretentious entertainment ranging from drama and polished adventure to comedy, musicals and westerns...

With a beautiful body and a timeless loveliness of a face, Angie Dickinson looks great in her black gown... She again figures effectively as the young lady, in love, who wants to stop the shootout... The movie has a Marshal (Glenn Ford) with a reputation as a legendary wild gunfighter, heading for a showdown with a dangerous good-looking challenger Chad Everett...

The John Sherry-Robert Emmett Ginna screenplay features Gary Merrill as a bushy-brow 'Five Card Stud' player, and Jack Elam as the hired killer with an evil leer...
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Better than average western.
Schryer9 May 2000
The basic premise of this movie is quite simple: a young man with no particular talent but a quick draw (Chad Everett) wants to feel important by out drawing the fastest draw around -- an experienced marshall played by Glenn Ford. As the movie progresses, a bond of mutual affection develops between the young gunfighter and the old marshall. The marshall tries every way he can to avoid the inevitable gunfight which he know he will win. This movie is essentially about relationships and the differences between youth and maturity rather than just another gunfight. It's one of my top ten westerns.
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Standard Western With A Good Cast
Witchfinder-General-66626 February 2008
Richard Thorpe's "The Last Challenge" aka. "The Pistolero of Red River" of 1967 is an entertaining standard American Western with a good cast. Even though in no way outstanding, this is a solid film that is well worth watching for genre-fans.

Dan Blaine (Glen Ford), the Marshal of a small town in the West, has the reputation of being the fastest and most precise shot around. Since he has been sheriff, the formerly dangerous area has become calm. Blaine, whose beautiful and rich girlfriend (Angie Dickinson) owns a local saloon, is therefore highly respected in his community. One day, however, a young gunslinger named Lot McGuire (Chad Everett) comes to town, with the intention to challenge Blaine in a duel. While he wishes to duel with the sheriff, McGuire is an otherwise friendly and likable guy. Blaine therefore wants to dissuade the young man from his wish...

Glen Ford is very good in the lead, and Chad Everett also delivers a solid performance as the young gunslinger. Beautiful Angie Dickinson is, as always, great in the female lead. The supporting cast includes the great genre actor Jack Elam, who also fits in his role very well. The film is overall entertaining and definitely worth the time. When it comes to Westerns from the late 60s, however, the Italian Westerns are usually incomparably better than those from the United States. While everybody is a bastard in Italian Westerns of the time, all characters are kinda good in this film, which makes it less interesting to me. "The Last Challenge" sure is a solid and entertaining little western, but it also confirmed what I already knew - American Westerns from the late sixties can not compete with their Italian counterparts, as the Spaghetti Westerns beat them in all respects. Nevertheless, a decent film. 6/10
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Is There A Doctor In The House?
cutterccbaxter16 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Before taking the Hippocratic Oath and joining The Medical Center team, Chad Everett comes riding into a dusty western town to gun down Glenn Ford because Ford is the best gunslinger around. Everett would have been better off asking for pointers from the old gunman because since Ford is a bigger movie star than Everett the odds are against him that he'll prevail in a shootout. The Last Challenge relies on Ford to carry a fairly standard western story that is filled with Hollywood-at-its-worst stereotypes and clichéd characters. Although I did like Outdoors. Ya know why? Because her heart is as big as the great outdoors.
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Glenn Ford The Fast Draw
byron93823 October 2004
In many ways The Last Challenge is simlar to the TV show Gunsmoke. Glenn Ford turns in a great performance. As the Marshall of a great western town. He has the respect off all the towns folk. He has a beautiful girlfriend who runs a saloon just like in Gunsmoke. Chad Evertt is the bad guy who rides into town to prove he's the better gun draw. The story is good some moments are a little slow but in the end. The story finally takes shape. One problem in the film. The Producers don't give enough substance to the Marshall. There's not enough gun play to establish the Marshall expertise as a law man. Angie Dickenson's character doesn't give the strong woman role. Like Miss Kitty in Gunsmoke. Chad Evertt's role should have been more dirty.

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"The best might not live long, but while he's the best, he's alive".
classicsoncall4 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Even though the face to face showdown in the middle of a dusty street was more a product of Hollywood than the Old West, you know what was really incredible to me? Marshal Dan Blaine (Glenn Ford) gave up a 'notion' from girlfriend Lisa Denton (Angie Dickinson) in order to go fishing! What?? No way, or at the very least, couldn't he have found time to fit both activities in during the same day?

Well, the theme here has been done in hundreds of Westerns, and for my money, the one that does it best is Gregory Peck's 1950 film "The Gunfighter". I'm talking about the young, hotshot gunslinger trying to make a name for himself by out-drawing the fastest gun with the best reputation in the territory. The twist here has the opposing gunmen, Lot McGuire (Chad Everett) and Marshal Blaine meeting up on the dusty trail as strangers, and sharing a meal and some camaraderie before their identities are revealed to each other. Once that's done, all bets are off as to McGuire's true intentions regarding the lawman.

I liked Everett in this one, just a few years after appearing as Deputy Del Stark in the TV Western 'The Dakotas", an intelligently written series given the era. Come to think of it, another Dakotas alum appeared here too, Jack Elam as the underhanded trail bum who accepts Miss Denton's offer to take out McGuire before he even reaches town. That was another dynamic I haven't seen before, and made for a confrontational scene between her and the Marshal before the final showdown.

Even though McGuire previewed his ability with a weapon during that rattlesnake scene, Blaine never wavered in his conviction that he could take out the undisciplined, young gunfighter. For a while, I thought the picture might have been setting us up for some conflicted resolution to the final face off, but when the time came, I was surprised how quick and efficient the whole thing went down. No wise guy dialog between the pair of gunfighters, just one man outdrawing the other in classic fashion. But this time, the traditional ride into the sunset occurred with the Marshal throwing away his gun into the opponent's coffin, and the girlfriend left to nurse a weary heart over a miscalculation that sealed her disappointment.
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Richard Thorpe's last challenge
dbdumonteil10 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
A prophetic title for it was to be Richard Thorpe's last movie;he enjoyed a long retirement for he passed away only 24 years later.

He was perhaps tired like his hero,(Glenn Ford)a former gunfighter turned marshal.The ending of the movie is rather pessimistic,which was rare in westerns (there was always something to make up for the unhappy end).The subject is not new (a young lad wants to draw the fastest draw around),only the female character (Angie Dickinson) as the owner of the local saloon and the sheriff's lover stands out:the old Pistolero shows a tendency to react to events instead of initiating them;the prisoner in jail is a drunken Indian and he goes fishing ,leaving his goofy deputy clean the vomit.It seems that Lisa longs for a family life with children (her visit to the farm) but her part is too underwritten.

"Little house" fans will recognize Kevin -Dr Baker- Hagen as a card player.
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Same old gunslinger guff
helpless_dancer31 December 2002
Ex-gunhawk meets up and coming young punk intent on proving his worth by knocking off the king of the heap. Been there, done that. Seems like Angie Dickinson played this identical part in several films; wonder if she got as bored doing it as I did watching. What was with Royal Dano doing his impersonation of an injun? The producer couldn't find the genuine article? Let this one be your last choice.
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Outstandingly Routine.
rmax30482311 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Glenn Ford is the formidable gun slinger who serves as a sensible, reasonable, mild-mannered Marshall in the dusty town of Contention, or Purgatorio, or San Placebo, or whatever it is. Oh, the town has its rowdies but it's peaceful enough overall. Ford, knowing he's the best in town, doesn't shoot anyone he doesn't have to.

While fishing in a tiny pool (in the middle of the Sonoran desert) Ford is joined by a stranger. The handsome Chad Everett is headed toward Ford's town of Moribunda, having heard that the town has a Marshall said to be the fastest in the West. Everett has never met the Marshall but he aims to kill him and prove that HE, Everett, is the fastest gun in the West.

When the pair have finished their fish feast of about three or four tiny perch, Ford reveals his identity. Everett is polite, thanks him for sharing the fish, tells him he's going to challenge him to a duel, and rides off towards town.

I didn't stick around until the end. Everett's good side has been so firmly established that I figured either Ford kills him reluctantly, only wounds him, or that Everett decides not to throw down the gauntlet, rides off into the sunset, and joins a Buddhist monastery.

Everything in the movie is conventional and flat. It looks like one of the TV "adult Westerns" that were popular at the time. The men wear the usual cowboy hats. They also wear those pointless open vests that were de rigueur. John Wayne at the time was never without one. Ford wears his signature tan cowboy hat. The gunslinger's gun is a scintillating black with a carved bone handle and is carried cross-wise in a matching black holster.

The business about the upstart wanting to outshoot the established King of the Colts has been worn down to a nubbin and better done elsewhere -- "The Gunfighter", for instance. And I doubt that it ever happened. The narrative has its feet planted solidly on thin air, although it is so much a part of our mythology that one wonders what part of our subcortical structures finds it resonant. SOMEBODY sitting in those theater seats must have wanted to kill everyone until he himself became King of the Colts. That's a pretty base instinct. It got MacBeth nowhere.
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Overlong routine duel Western
Penfold-1315 August 1999
Chad Everett is the young gunslinger who wants to prove himself faster than Marshal Glenn Ford, the fastest gun around. Marshal tries to convince gunslinger not to waste his life and be useful instead of dying at his hands while Angie Dickinson attempts to prevent the shoot-out.

It is slow, is probably attempting to be evocative, but is basically just boring.
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Don't get it
onehipdad27 June 2008
Sorry, but I just don't see it the same. For me, this is just one more in a string of not only bad westerns, but bad films made in the '60's. I notice the same thing with war movies made during the decade: The plots are shot full of holes and discontinuities and if not poorly produced and directed, then poorly edited. There seems to be a resurgence in quality starting about '68 with movies such as Bullitt, Bonnie & Clyde and The Wild Bunch, my #1 all-time western.

I don't know why, but Hollywood movies in general from late '50's to late '60's, while possibly strong on visuals (scenery, location) are shallow and weak technically and plot-wise. Kind of like American cars at the time: Whatever's put out there will be purchased.
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Promoting some of the same old myths of the West...
MartinHafer27 January 2016
As a history teacher, I have a lot more knowledge about what the old west REALLY was like...and for the most part it was little like you see in westerns. In the case of this film, there is the famed fast- draw sheriff, young punks wanting to prove they are faster and the famed shootouts on main street...all stuff that really did not happen. Sure, it could have happened once or twice (anything is possible) but the west was a lot safer and civilized than you would imagine if you got your history from films! So, I knew going into "The Last Challenge" that the film was complete fiction...a myth of a west filmmakers WISHED had really been.

When the film begins, yet another stupid punk comes into town to challenge the brave Marshall (Glenn Ford). Marshall Blaine blows the snot out of him and the immediate threat is gone. But of course there is another who is on his way to town to challenge the fast- draw sheriff. But something unusual happens--the pair meet on friendly terms while fishing and seem to like each other. Will that change anything or is one of them still destined to assume room temperature?

This is a moderately enjoyable film with a finale that is, pretty much, a foregone conclusion. Not a bad movie...just not at all like the real west. Although a shootout between two guys is common in films, in reality lawmen were very happy to just shoot guys in the back or shotgun them or attack the thug with a group. The whole manly shootout to prove who is the fastest is just mythical.
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A real 'stinker' of a western
laurencefagan28 September 2017
I watched this film on TV on TCM recently after reading the short synopsis and seeing the cast list....Glenn Ford, Angie Dickinson, Jack Elam, Royal Dano and Gary Merrill. A good, reliable line-up. It was a 1967 film as well, sandwiched between The Professionals (1966) and The Wild Bunch (1969), not to mention Butch & Sundance and True Grit, both from the same era. It had to be good. It wasn' was awful! The tired plot (ageing gunfighter trying to escape his past with a new young pistolero wanting to prove himself) has been done many times before, and better, but I thought the stellar cast might bring something new to the film...wrong! Poor old Glenn Ford looked his usual world-weary self a bit too much in this film and Jack Elam played his regular character that he's played many times down the years, which is OK if the movie's a good one...if it's not, it doesn't work for me. The most ridiculous waste of talent was the part Royal Dano played, not just an Indian, but a drunken one that wouldn't have been out of place in Blazing Saddles. On top of all that, the film actually looked had none of the sharp, colourful camera work that the others I mentioned had, in fact it looked like a 'B' movie to me. The best thing about this film was Angie Dickinson who looked great throughout it. For me, Shane in 1953, set the standard for future westerns, and Rio Bravo ('59) and The Magnificent Seven ('60) kept up this standard with 'grown-up' scripts, good casts and attractive locations. For me, The Last Challenge had none of these ingredients. The only other western I've given a negative review is The Unforgiven with Burt Lancaster (and again, a good cast)...bad, but not quite as bad as this one.
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Oh dear oh dear oh dear!
michaelthompsonmcgill12 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I never thought I would literally almost fall asleep watching this western.

In no order of merit.

There was absolutely no chemistry between Glenn Ford and Angie Dickinson.

Angie Dickinson spoke her lines as though reading them off a billboard.

Why Glenn Ford took this movie on I for one, will never know because Glenn Ford is up there with the greats.

I found this film totally boring from start to finish.

One of the reviews for this film stated, "At last an adult western".

This in my view was because of the script, it was full of truths about life as a cowboy who is claimed to be fast on the draw, and there will always be a young punk who claims to be faster. That's it in a nut shell.
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