23 July 2012 | ma-cortes
A group of card gamblers are killed one by one and Martin and Mitchum investigate the murders
It's a film noir/Western/suspense of bizarre beauty and extraordinary performances ; being based on a novel by Ray Gaulden and interesting screenplay by Marguerite Roberts . A card shark is caught cheating, he is taken out and lynched , later on , this engenders several murders . The players in an ongoing poker game are being mysteriously killed off, one by one . A professional gambler (Dean Martin) who attempted to prevent the lynching tries to ensnare the assassin with the aid of a preacher (Robert Mitchum) with a weapon .
Suspenseful film dealing with a card player who is lynched by the drunkards he was playing against. Tension from the opening game going on until ending and never lets up , being for Agata Christie aficionados . This is a tremendously exciting story of an obstinate card player and a strange preacher with a gun . It begins as a slow-moving Western but follows to surprise us with dark characters , strong supporting work , solid plot and in whodunit style . The tale is almost grim , a priest comes to a town just in time to make sure its citizenry but later the events get worse . Main cast is frankly magnificent . Sympathetic Dean Martin as as a reluctant card gambler and nice Robert Mitchum as a gun-toting preacher . First-rate Robert Mitchum in similar role and performance to ¨Night of the hunter¨ that was the acting of his life . In addition , Roddy McDowall steals the show as the cynic Nick . Supporting cast is extremely good such as Inger Stevens as Lily Langford , Katherine Justice as Nora Evers , John Anderson as Marshal Dana , Yaphet Kotto as Little George , Denver Pyle as Sig and Whit Bissell as Dr. Cooper , among others . Good Technicolor cinematography by Daniel F. Fapp . Enjoyable musical score ties up a top-notch Western package ; it is composed by the maestro Maurice Jarre . Furthermore , agreeable song by Dean Martin , including lyrics by Ned Washington . Watchable results for this offbeat Western .
This well-paced in cracking style flick is compellingly directed by Henry Hathaway and usually works very well , taking a firm grip on the action and suspense . Here he directs efficiently Dean Martin and with strong screen presence by Robert Mitchum , both of whom collaborated in some Western . Hathaway himself was only even nominated for an Oscar , but his movies themselves are testimony to his skills to heighten narrative tension and shoot action so exhilarating it made adrenalin run . He does the human touch and full of insight that accompanied him during most of his films and the story develops pleasantly in a large frame with an interesting plot and fully adjusted to the requirements of the action . Henry was a craftsman who had a long career from the 30s with successful films , and especially Westerns , as ¨Brigham Young¨ and ¨Raw Hide¨ . In his 60s Hathaway still got the vigour to make some fiery movies as ¨From Hell to Texas¨, ¨How the West was won¨, ¨Nevada Smith¨, and ¨Shoot out¨ . He was an expert on Western genre as he proved in ¨True grit¨ , ¨Five card stud¨ , ¨Nevada Smith¨ ,¨How the West was won¨ , ¨Rawhide¨ , ¨Brigham Young¨ , ¨Buffalo Stampede¨, ¨Garden of evil¨ and ¨The sons of Katie Elder¨. Rating : nice Western that will appeal to Robert Mitchum and Dean Martin fans .