13 March 2000 | abooboo-2
The first half of this Western isn't bad at all. The dialogue is crisp, the situations believable, and it efficiently establishes all the central conflicts and relationships. But around the halfway point, things go terribly wrong. It's as if the filmmakers let their sons and daughters take over and complete the picture. Action scenes are poorly staged, characterizations become muddled and repetitious, plots and subplots get unsatisfyingly resolved in a strangely rushed, banal fashion. And the previously sharp dialogue gives way to howlers like "Mike, this could be your last chance to grow up!"
Interesting mish-mash of a cast however. I had often wondered who George Montgomery was, having seen his name listed for so many films, and while this was evidently made towards the end of his career, he's certainly a classicly square-jawed, masculine lead in the Clark Gable mold. Tab Hunter is okay as the rowdy young hotshot deputized by Sheriff Montgomery for a dangerous prisoner transport, and there are faint (very faint) echoes of the Wayne/Clift relationship in "Red River". Yvonne DeCarlo, though aging, is still believably fetching as the woman prisoner who drives a wedge between the two men.
I guess I should have known there was something fishy about this movie early on, judging by the God-awful stunt doubling done for Tab Hunter in his first fight scenes. The double, quite clearly and amusingly, doesn't look a thing like him.