Stagecoach-Robbing Buddies Compete For Music Hall Songstress
This stodgy, unimaginative western was made in 1967, ten years after the genre had ceased to interest anyone. Important plot elements are left unresolved. Guy's love for Lillie, once it is thwarted, is simply dropped, and Guy doesn't seem bothered. Nobody refers to it again. The story's ending is utterly unconvincing, as though the writers were unsure how to 'tidy' the plot strands, and simply decided to cut the gordian knot. The actual ride to the tree happens in the first reel, and nothing resembling it happens in the rest of the movie. Jack Lord and James Farentino are pretty, and pretty good, as the male leads: they turn in competent journeyman performances. Melodie Johnson is miscast as Lillie: her radically unsexy screen presence is symbolised by the cringingly awful mimed song in her stage act. A wooden-headed plot, tediously predictable stunt action and weak humour can't prevent this being an amiable, if unchallenging, piece of entertainment. Curiously for such an unambitious film, it echoes and prefigures more sophisticated westerns of its era: the two heroes, trapped in a hovel, wisecrack while their assailants pile on the firepower ("Butch Cassidy", 1969) and they are saved from the noose by their partner's fancy shooting ("The Good, The Bad &c.", 1966). Not worth a trip to the cinema, but a mildly pleasant TV experience on a wet afternoon - which is how I stumbled across it.
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