Death of a Gunfighter (1969)

M   |    |  Western


Death of a Gunfighter (1969) Poster

A Texas town's council fires the town's old-fashioned marshal who refuses to resign, thus leading to violence from both sides.


6.3/10
968

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  • Richard Widmark and Lena Horne in Death of a Gunfighter (1969)
  • Kent Smith and Morgan Woodward in Death of a Gunfighter (1969)
  • Lena Horne in Death of a Gunfighter (1969)
  • Richard Widmark and Lena Horne in Death of a Gunfighter (1969)
  • Richard Widmark and Lena Horne in Death of a Gunfighter (1969)
  • Richard Widmark and Lena Horne in Death of a Gunfighter (1969)

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28 July 2011 | Spikeopath
6
| Second cousin to Monte Walsh and Lonely Are The Brave.
Death of a Gunfighter is directed by Don Siegel and Robert Totten under the pseudonym of Alan Smithee. It's adapted to screenplay by Joseph Calvelli from the novel written by Lewis B. Patten. it stars Richard Widmark, Lena Horne and Carroll O'Connor. A Technicolor production it sees music is by Oliver Nelson and cinematography by Andrew Jackson. Plot sees Widmark as Patch, an old style lawman in the town of Cottonwood Springs, a town that the community elders want to see move with the times. When Patch kills a drunk in self defence, the town denizens see it as the ideal opportunity to oust him from office. But Patch isn't that keen to leave his post....

It carries with it some historical cinematic value in that it was the first time the name Alan Smithee was seen on the directing credits. A name that come to be associated with films where the director who worked on it wanted his name off of the credits. Here it was Don Siegel, who only came in for the last two weeks of filming after Widmark and Totten fell out. The finished product, whilst no duffer, is still a lukewarm experience, not helped by the fact that the theme at its core has been done considerably better in other Western offerings. On the plus side there is Widmark stoically giving his anachronism role some real emotional depth, and the finale does not want for dramatic impact. But it plays out like a TV movie, with no visual flourishes, and the cosmopolitan make up of the townsfolk is not utilised to aid the story. 6/10

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