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  • One of a series of interesting westerns Audie Murphy made for Universal in the 50s and 60s. As in all of these oaters, many veteran performers turn up in various roles. This one is no exception.

    Dan Duryea appears in one of his patented good bad guy roles as a character called, now get this, Frank Jesse. At the beginning Murphy is almost strung up for hoss stealin' by veterans Roy Barcroft and Bob Steele. What makes this scene unique is that they attempt to hang him from a wagon tongue, a method that I haven't seen employed before or since. Also, Republic serial veterans George (Commando Cody) Wallace and stuntman Dale Van Sickel turn up briefly as various bad guys.

    The story is basically two drifters (Murphy and Duryea) hired by a mysterious and gorgeous blond (Joan O'Brien), to escort her across Apache territory to meet up with her long lost husband. There are the expected Indian attacks and of course, the final showdown between Murphy and Duryea.

    The film is a good western competently handled. But what I still can't figure out is who the Joan O'Brien character is trying to signal during the trek across Apache country.
  • Six Black Horses is directed by Harry Keller and written by Burt Kennedy. It stars Audie Murphy, Dan Duryea and Joan O'Brien. Photography is by Maury Gertsman and the music scored by Joseph Gershenson. It's filmed in Eastmancolor and location for the shoot is St. George, Utah, USA. Plot sees Murphy and Duryea hired by O'Brien to take her across dangerous Indian country to her husband. But are ulterior motives at work?.

    There's no getting away from it, this film has striking similarities to the far superior "Budd Boetticher/Randy Scott" movie, "Ride Lonesome". Also scripted by Burt Kennedy, the plot follows the same format and Kennedy even scripts some of the same dialogue. While the keen Western fan will note the name of Murphy's character, Ben Lane, was also used for a character in "Boetticher's Comanche Station". So far so regurgitated then, but although it goes without saying that to watch this piece in conjunction with "Ride Lonseome" is a futile exercise, this does have enough about it to warrant a viewing on its own terms one Sunday afternoon.

    It's a professional and well put together movie, Murphy and Duryea (the latter owning the film from the second he turns up on his horse, shotgun in hands) aren't asked to extend themselves but still make an engaging duo (see also their pairing in "James Stewart" starrer "Night Passage 1957"). While O'Brien ("The Comancheros") is gorgeous and does a nice line in sultry devious. Editor turned director Keller does a competent job, his action construction solid if somewhat hamstrung by the odd daft moment involving the Coyoteros Indians. Stunt work is very good and Gershenson's ("No Name on the Bullet/Lonely Are the Brave") score is brisk and tonally correct. Bonus here is the location scenery, beautifully realised by Gertsman's ("Cattle Drive 1951") photography, the St. George craggy hills form an imposing backdrop as the protagonist's journey grows more perilous and their emotional states come under scrutiny.

    Enjoyable with genuine moments of quality, even if it's ultimately the second cousin to a far better movie. 6.5/10
  • Great western, I enjoyed Audie Murphy's performance.

    At 38 minutes into the movie there is a story told by Frank about a past love in Bisbee who he later discovered was married to another man. He says it taught him a lesson, "Always check the brand to make sure you are not driving another man's stock".

    That same story is told 50 minutes into Fort Dobbs (1958) by Clett (Brian Keith) and he says "Always check the brand first and that way you'll know if you are running somebody else's' stock".

    Burt Kennedy (story)was a writer in both movies so he got a lot of use of this tale!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Six Black Horses is a film I don't want to over analyze, because I just enjoy it for what it is, an entertaining western. The film begins with Duryea saving Murphy from a lynching after being accused of being a horse thief. Next they arrive to a town where Joan O'Brien, an alluring blonde pays the two, to escort her across some dangerous territory to be with her husband. Into the journey Murphy begins to have suspicions about the woman, but Duryea wants the money. But it seems Murphy's suspicions were right, O'Brien is setting Duryea up to kill him because he killed her husband in a shootout. Audie Murphy and Dan Duryea worked great together in this story, Duryea doing what Duryea does best, playing the perfect sleazy, greedy character, with Murphy the conscientious one. The journey isn't a smooth one, as they encounter hostile Indians, and Murphy begins to fall in love with O'Brien. Finally at the end a showdown takes place between Murphy and Duryea. Murphy rides off with the girl and Duryea gets his wish as his coffin is carried away in a fine coach being drawn by six black horses with fancy plumes. Burt Kennedy's screenplay is well directed by Harry Keller, and this 80 minute film is perfectly paced and also nicely filmed on enhancing locations. I also thought the stray dog who takes a loyal liking to Murphy's character and joins him throughout the story, added an interesting touch. I enjoyed this Western and encourage the reader to watch and decide for themselves.
  • For two-thirds of this film I thought it was pretty good, but I ended up feeling that it had disappointed.

    It did seem improbable that a very attractive woman would risk a very dangerous journey with two wanderers she didn't know, but that's Hollywood for you. It seemed a very foolhardy way of seeking revenge, and, like another reviewer, I couldn't work out what she was trying to achieve by building up the fire so that it smoked. And from her knowing smirk it was she who had loosened a horse's shoe to delay the journey. And she chose a darned funny time to try to get her revenge, during the fight in the old mission, when the trio was already out-numbered.

    A nod of approval to the script-writer for putting into context the $1,000 that Kelly was offering to Ben and to Frank - three or four years' pay. But a big frown for the improbable long-distance effectiveness of Ben's revolver. (I wonder what Audie Murphy, with his WWII experience of fire-arms, thought of that.) I'm not sure what was achieved by including the dog, except to show that Ben was kind to ill-treated animals. During the chases, it looked fixed improbably securely to the pack-horse saddle.

    And the ending was an anti-climax.
  • Audie Murphy said of his film career that he himself remained the same throughout, and the scripts didn't vary much - it was only the horses that changed. This rather ordinary western fits neatly into the Murphy catalogue.

    A cowpoke befriends a fellow drifter who rescues him from a lynch mob. In the town of Perdido the two pals are hired by a beautiful woman to escort her across indian territory. It turns out that Kelly (Joan O'Brien) has an ulterior motive.

    Dan Duryea and Murphy combine well enough as the chalk-and-cheese buddies. The film contains a good mariachi funeral, and the dialogue-free opening sequence is well done, telling the story in visual language. The picturesque setting of sandstone outcrops and flat scrubland (filmed in Utah, of all places) provides an attractive backdrop for the action.

    When all is said and done, however, "Six Black Horses" is a fairly brainless oater from the early 1960's. You know the sort of thing - the latina dancing-girl in the saloon has a red flower in her cleavage, and in the shoot-out at the old mission, the indians' bullets keep pinging off the same spot on the parapet, while the indians themselves obligingly mass in the open, allowing Audie to get a good shot at them.

    Verdict - Always check the brand, lest you end up with a Murphy turkey.
  • A Prime Example of the Very End of the Western Cycle that Wore Out its Welcome simply because of a Production Overload in Cinemas and on TV. There was an Unwritten Necessity for something to Happen to Re-Energize and Re-Invent the Genre.

    Enter Sam Peckinpah and Sergio Leone and the Rest is Film History.

    This one had Burt Kennedy and Audie Murphy showing Signs of Laziness, Indifference, and Perhaps Burn-Out. Solid Western Screenplay Writer Kennedy Recycles His Own Work, as does Murph as Both Trot into the New Decade Mounted on Past Glories.

    That's why an Aging Dan Duryea Steals the Show as a Gun for Hire, that still Senses Right from Wrong when He isn't Getting Paid. Murph does OK and allows Duryea to Stand in the Sunlight most of the Time.

    Joan O'Brien is Gorgeous and Holds Her Own among the Gunslingers and Indians that all Desire Her Charms...Duryea's Frank Jesse (that name, come on Burt, seriously)..."What a Man would do to get His hands on a Woman like that".

    Overall. Familiar, Slightly Above Average Western for the Time Period, but does Show Signs of Genre Atrophy and a Hope for Better Things to Come.
  • A gunfighter about to be hanged is saved by a hired pistolero. Later on, a gorgeous married woman called Kelly : Joan O'Brien hires two gunmen, Ben Lane : Audie Murphy and crooked Frank Jesse : Dan Duryea, so that she can be reunited with her hubby . But this woman has an ulterior motive , a planned revenge to be developed during the dangerous journey throughout the Indian territory. Both gunmen team up to escort the beautiful woman, outwitting several attempts on their lives and along the way being attacked by Indians Coyoteros while she attempts to achieve her actual goal. Both pistoleros become good friends and threir friendship prevails. On the way Kelly attempts to seduce Ben by offering to give him share of the bounty, but he resigns to it. One was a deadly danger the other two! Adventure that explodes with violence and fury! He owed his life to his hired gun!

    Nice-looking and enjoyable Western from Universal International Pictures that benefits itself thanks to an interesting script by prestigious Burt Kennedy, Bud Boetticher's regular writer. That's why it contains some novelties, but also usual elements as noisy action, thrills, shootouts, riding pursuits, Indian attacks and some spectacular scenes. The film is well starred by Audie Murphy, the soldier most decorated of WWII. Audie played several Westerns, such as : The kid from Texas, Cimarron Kid, Gunpoint, Night passage, The gunrunners, Gunfight at Comanche, Rifles Apaches, The unforgiven, 40 guns at Apache pass, The Texian, Posse from hell, Ride clear of devil, Red badge of courage, among others. And co-starred by Dan Duryea who steals the show as a bad/good outlaw redeeming himself and he has an only wish, a funeral carriage, a hearse pulled by six black horses, the reason for the title film. They are accompanied by a good but brief support cast as George Wallace, Rory Barcroft, and Bob Steele.

    It is colorfully photographed in brilliant and glimmer Technicoloy by Maury Gertsman. Furthermore, thrilling and moving musical score by ordinary Universal composers : Herman Stein, Milton Rosen and Henry Mancini. Being shot on location in St. George Utah and Universal studios. The motion picture produced by Gordon Kay, was well directed by Harry Keller. He was a good craftsman who directed a lot of westerns, such as : Quantez, Sheriff Hour H, Rose of Cimarron, Fort Dodge stampede, Phantom stallion, Thundering caravans, Tarnished. And he also made of TV series as Dysneyland National velvet, Letter to Loretta, among others. Rating 6.5/10. Notable oater Western that will appeal to Audie Murphy fans. Well worth watching.
  • The title is as misleading if you haven't seen this film as it is apt if you have, being concerned with character rather than horses, as you'd expect of a script by Burt Kennedy.

    Presumably originally written for Randolph Scott, with Audie Murphy as Scott and Dan Duryea as Dan Duryea. Duryea plays a sympathetic role for once and he and Murphy work well together, the problem as usual being a woman; on this occasion Joan O'Brien as a cool blonde called Kelly with a knowing smile and an ulterior motive.
  • I gave it an 8 for what it represents... Audy Murphy in a Saturday night shoot em up. Reminds me of my youth. Just a fun movie all around.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The film had me curious about the title for a while since Audie Murphy's character tries to lasso a wild bronco in the opening minutes and it's one of six that's roaming across the scrub desert where Ben Lane lost his. I didn't see how that event was going to work it's way into the picture, but later on, Dan Duryea comes up with the line in my summary quote describing how he'd like to be buried when his time comes - drawn in a carriage with six black horses.

    Now that I've had some time to think about the story, I'm left puzzled by a number of things. The main one is why Miss Kelly (Joan O'Brien) went to the trouble of hiring the pair of saddle tramps to escort her across Indian territory after the initial failed attempt to kill Frank Jesse (Duryea) in Perdido. She exposed herself to an awful lot of danger just to get revenge on the man who killed her husband. In fact, didn't it look like she pulled up her own horse during the chase scene with the Coyoteros? She would have been a goner except that it was too early to end the picture just yet.

    And what's with the pampered pooch? I'm sorry, but seeing the nameless mutt riding his own horse throughout the picture just seemed comical to me, especially during that same chase scene. He must have been strapped in pretty well not to get bumped off, but why not let the dog run around on his own? That one really left me baffled.

    So I guess if you don't think about these things too much, the film is passable enough with decent action and surprisingly good cinematography. In his late thirties, Audie Murphy looks like he outgrew the baby face look he had in pictures of a decade earlier when casting him as a villain didn't quite seem to work. Dan Duryea creates enough empathy for his character that you kind of wish the two wouldn't have to draw down on each other once the end game is revealed. The way in which Ben Lane and Miss Kelly come together seemed like a bit of stretch for me as well, but if the hero was going to ride off into the sunset with his girl, they had to work it out somehow. As for Frank Jesse, he got those six black horses after all.
  • davidjanuzbrown24 July 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    Extremely underrated movie. It is really about three people: Ben Lane (Audie Murphy), Frank Jessie (Dan Duryea), and Kelly (Joan O'Brien). The hero and really only good person is Ben and Frank Jessie said about him: "Do you tire of being good?" He saves Kelly and a dog (who was used for dog fighting and remains loyal to him) in the movie. Spoilers ahead: Frank Jessie is hired to kill Kelly's husband, and she hires gunmen to kill him for revenge. Frank Jessie says "You are exactly like me." The only difference is Ben loves her, and only likes him (he saved Ben from being lynched earlier), and Ben has to face Frank Jessie in a showdown (you know who wins). By the way the Title refers to how Frank Jessie wanted to go out "Having a coffin in a wagon pulled by 6 black horses, and slamming the door shut on the past." That is exactly how he goes out, and after Ben tells the story, Kelly (who had a harsh life and was used by everyone, and has low self esteem), tells how she too wants "Slam the door shut on the past." They (along with the dog) are going to get a fresh beginning in Montana (where Ben is from). Ben wins her by being non judgmental about her past, and all he wants to do with her is love and take care of her. Nice Movie. 9/10 stars.
  • "Six Black Horses" is a mild and mediocre western with only one real point of interest. Burt Kennedy's screenplay plagiarises his own screenplay for "Ride Lonesome"! Not only does Kennedy re-use some of the plot points - the redskins offering to trade a horse for the lushly feminine white woman/the sudden race across flat lands to a refuge just over the ridge - but also recycles some of his dialogue: "Some things a man just can't ride around" /"just thinking about it gives me a shiver deep down inside"/"a man needs a reason to ride this country".

    Like "Ride Lonesome" and several other westerns written by Kennedy, "Six Black Horses" is a journey movie. A woman (Joan O'Brien) offers two saddle-sore drifters who are adept with guns (Audie Murphy and Dan Duryea) a thousand dollars each to escort her across Indian territory. Predictably, they encounter various dangers and, sadly, everything is resolved predictably.

    There is nothing special about "Six Black Horses". Most of the situations and relationships are tired clichés, and none is depicted with any originality or imagination. Audie Murphy and Dan Duryea were old hands at this sort of thing in 1962, and they do not put a foot wrong. Joan O'Brien is more interesting, partly because she was an extremely attractive woman, even by movie star standards, and partly because her role carries some mystery. It is regrettable that her movie career did not prosper for longer.

    If the gun fights had been expertly choreographed by a directer who knew how to do it (like John Sturges or Don Siegel), "Six Black Horses" would not be so forgettable.
  • coltras3513 December 2020
    This Audie Murphy has always gone past my radar, finding it low key but after having seen it properly, I have realised it's a solid film with some suspenseful moments. Audie shows what a natural actor ( in the vein of Gary Cooper) he is, and his contentious character contrasts greatly to Dan Duryea's flawed character. Audie befriending the dog was a nice touch, and highlighted the character's kindness, which, again, emphasised the difference him and Duryea's character. Great dialogue, impressive cinematography that captures the location well - good little western
  • debemser3 December 2020
    This is a good western for 1962. Murphy has fully formed into a great natural actor. Dan Duryea, the classic noir actor, is natural voiced, but classic Duryea. My focus was thier horsemanship and the dog. Audie was a great horseman and displayed that. Dan is also an accomplished western rider and western actor (watch his appearances on Rawhide episodes) and never loses his Joyzey accent even though he's from upstate New York. I wouldn't watch this for Audie, but I brake for any Duryea and it doesn't disappoint.
  • An Audie Murphy Western from 1962. Murphy is a down on his luck cowboy who chases down, at least he thought, a wild horse (his has died) but finds out the horse is already spoken for. As he's about to be hanged for the offense, Dan Duryea, comes to his rescue & they both head off their merry way. They reach a town & after a night at a saloon, a couple of sidewinders try to gun them down & they expertly defend themselves gaining the attention of a woman, played Joan O'Brien, to hire them to escort her to her husband a distance away. A journey soon ensues w/them getting to know each other & they fighting off the advances of some Indians who want to trade for O'Brien which Murphy negotiates against but then things turn when during a gunfight, O'Brien turns her gun on Duryea & tries to kill him. It turns out Duryea had killed her husband some years before & she's ripe for a reckoning. Scripted by Burt Kennedy (who wrote many of Budd Boetticher's best westerns), this almost becomes one of Murphy's better westerns by default w/a sly & knowing performance by the always reliable Duryea giving this film almost a noir tinge to it. Another smart decision is by having a scaled back cast (much like Kennedy's scripted Seven Men from Now) keeping the focus on the principals. The title refers to the style & number of horses which pull a hearse in a funeral procession.
  • boblipton19 August 2019
    What I noticed first about this movie is the colors. I don't know whether it is because the Eastmancolor print aged in odd ways, whether the colors around St. George in Utah are actually those colors, or some combination of the two, but the distant hills that vary from periwinkle to lavender, the bright orange dirt and the varying blues of the sky (indicating to my mind that time passed between the two shots, despite the in-movie continuity) are startling.

    It starts when Audie Murphy cuts out what he thinks is a wild horse; his own had died some time earlier. Soon enough, he is being hanged for horse rustling, only to be rescued by Dan Duryea, playing one of his quixotic gunfighters. The two of them are hired by Joan O'Brien to get them to her husband, through warring Apaches.

    In other words, it's plot 2: the Anabasis, getting from point A to point B. It's also got a script by Burt Kennedy, filled with exciting situations, dark humor and homely phrases. Good pictures, good stories, good actors.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Universal International Pictures release "Six Black Horses" is a predictable, low-budget, but entertaining horse opera with Audie Murphy, Joan O'Brien, and Dan Duryea. Harry Keller directed this largely standard-issue sagebrusher with an even, assured hand. This 80-minute Murphy vehicle was his last western. He got his start helming westerns, and he helmed "Seven Ways to Sundown" (1960) with Murphy. Keller keeps the action moving along at an amiable gait between bouts of expository dialogue. Our two heroes encounter savage Indians, bushwhacking sidewinders, and a deceiving dame. Nothing truly surprising happens, but the two lead characters make an interesting combo, and they encounter their share of tribulation. "Seven Men From Now" scenarist Burt Kennedy's screenplay features masculine dialogue enhanced by the mysterious heroine's agenda. As other reviewers have complained, Kennedy recycles scenes from "Ride Lonesome and anticipates a cockfighting scene in "Return of the Seven." Ben Lane (Audie Murphy of "Hell Bent for Leather") and Frank Jesse (Dan Duryea of "Winchester '73") join forces not long after the opening credits. Duryea delivers another of his charmingly roguish performances as a sympathetic bad guy. Set afoot by a lame horse, Ben trudges through the wilderness, toting his saddle, and spots a string of horse. He ropes himself a horse and learns to his chagrin later that the string of horses belong to a Mustanger (Roy Barcroft of "Arizona Manhunt") and his cohorts. Poor Ben winds up with his head in a noose when Frank intervenes on his behalf. Our heroes meet an enigmatic woman, Kelly (Joan O'Brien of "Operation Petticoat"), who offers them $500 a piece to escort her back to her husband in Santa Rita del Cobre. Before long we learn that Kelly wants to see Frank dead because he killed her husband. During an Indian attack, she comes close to shooting Frank, but a spear her in the shoulder complicates things for the lady. This is the kind of western where the action takes place on the trail. Inevitably, Ben and Frank have a falling out and slap leather. Despite Kennedy's derivative screenplay, "Six Black Horses" qualifies an enjoyable frontier tale that doesn't wear out its welcome.
  • gjcannon23 October 2020
    Just watching this and a line by Duryea, ' imagine being around her all that time, all them days, nights. Just thinking on it gives me a way down shiver' almost echoes a line from 1959's Ride Lonesome and the character played by Pernell Roberts.
  • Six lack Horses which Dan Duryea wants to pull his funeral hearse when his time comes saves Audie Murphy from an unjustified lynching. The two partner up and Joan O'Brien offers them some big bucks to take her through some hostile Apache country. But O'Brien who both men have the hots for has an agenda and it's not a good one for Duryea.

    Murphy's character is perhaps a touch too noble to be real. But Dan Duryea is always interesting in any kind ofmovie and any kind of role. He never gave a bad performance in his life and most definitely not here. And O'Brien looks real good bulging in all the right places.

    Not Audie's best western, still should satisfy any western fan.
  • sandcrab2771 December 2019
    It could have been a memorable western if joan o'brien and audie murphy were used to their full extent as lovers ... but as it was the always the oily duryea that didn't fit in making suggestive comments toward o'brien ... i never saw him in a film where he performed any differently ... joan o'brien put up with a lot of crap in her career ... dhe will always shine as a very bright star for me.