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Thursday, February 18, 2016

THE GUNFIGHT AT DODGE CITY (1959)

A real stinker. This barely functioning Western has Joel McCrea as Bat Masterson cleaning up Dodge City after his straight-arrow brother (Ed Masterson, who knew?) is taken out of action before the big election for County Sheriff. Toss in a couple of pretty gals to woo; a gaggle of trigger-happy cowboys shooting up Main Street; a philosophizing doctor to run a roulette wheel; plus a mentally handicapped pal to save from a hanging and you’d think something would stick to the wall. But a pretty decent cast smell defeat in the air and wisely phone it in rather than risk embarrassment. Hard to see what else could have been done under Joseph M. Newman listless megging. Note how quickly it all wraps up so everyone can get the heck out of there.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: McCrea, who may have been thinking about signing off with this one, came back after a three year break to star in a proper send-off: Sam Peckinpah’s memorable RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY/’62.

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