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Death of a Gunfighter (1969)

M/PG | | Western | 8 May 1969 (USA)
A Texas town's council fires the town's old-fashioned marshal who refuses to resign, thus leading to violence from both sides.

Directors:

Don Siegel (as Allen Smithee), Robert Totten (as Allen Smithee)

Writers:

Joseph Calvelli (screenplay), Lewis B. Patten (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Widmark ... Marshal Frank Patch
Lena Horne ... Claire Quintana
Carroll O'Connor ... Lester Locke
David Opatoshu ... Edward Rosenbloom
Kent Smith ... Andrew Oxley
Jacqueline Scott ... Laurie Mills
Morgan Woodward ... Ivan Stanek
Larry Gates ... Mayor Chester Sayre
Dub Taylor ... Doc Adams
John Saxon ... Lou Trinidad
Darleen Carr ... Hilda Jorgenson
Michael McGreevey ... Dan Joslin
Royal Dano ... Arch Brandt
Jimmy Lydon ... Luke Mills (as James Lydon)
Kathleen Freeman ... Mary Elizabeth
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Storyline

In the turn-of-the century Texas town of Cottownwood Springs, marshal Frank Patch is an old-style lawman in a town determined to become modern. When he kills drunken Luke Mills in self-defense, the town leaders decide it's time for a change. They ask for Patch's resignation, but he refuses on the basis that the town on hiring him had promised him the job for as long as he wanted it. Afraid for the town's future and even more afraid of the fact that Marshal Patch knows all the town's dark secrets, the city fathers decide that old-style violence is the only way to rid themselves of the unwanted lawman. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Marshall Patch... he lived by the law of the gun...

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

M/PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 May 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Patch See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Don Siegel took over from Robert Totten after a 25 day shoot, and completed it in a further 9 days. See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the film you can see the electrical wires running (presumably buried for most of their length under the differently-coloured soil) to a man's body as he is 'shot'; the last yard or so of wire -which is presumably for the gunshot SFX- is clearly visible running towards the man's ankles. See more »

Quotes

Dan Joslin: It's awful seeing a man kill himself. One minute he's there... alive... then he's dead. Blood and the smell of powdersmoke. And it's all over and done with. It's awful!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Who Is Alan Smithee? (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

SWEET APPLE WINE
Lyrics Carol Hall
Music Oliver Nelson
Sung by Lena Horne
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Death of the old west
7 December 2010 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

"Death of a gunfighter" belongs to the crepuscular western genre which would become prominent in the seventies with such works as "the shootist" .The hero (masterfully played by Richard Widmark as brilliant as ever) is definitely a man of the past ;twenty years go ,when he began his job of a marshal ,the street was not safe and the way of the gun was the only one .Now,the town longs for respectability,for a "modern" Police .The unsung hero has not realized that history is a jet plane : there are photographs in the rooms and the first automobiles (like in Sam Peckinpah's " ballad of Cable Hogue") will pretty soon leave the horse-drawn carriages far behind .

The title speaks for itself :the marshal's fate is sealed as soon the movie begins .The old people are blasé or tired .there are two young lads ,one of them an orphan is excited by his employer's daughter ,and although she throws him a line twice,he can't make up his mind to go all the way;the other one ,after a tragic loss,thinks he can take laws in his hands and become a gunfighter like his enemy.

The atmosphere of the movie is gloomy : it begins with a woman in mourning and ends the same way.A priest is saying prayers in the saloon as a man is dying.A wedding is to take place after a funeral.This is not your average action-packed western ,it looks like a dirge


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