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  • Started by Robert Totten, then taken over by Don Siegel at the insistence of Richard Widmark (Totten and the star "clashed," as they say), "Death of a Gunfighter" wound up credited to the fictitious and now somewhat famous Alan Smithee. This intriguing Western remains the elusive director's best work, thanks, no doubt, to the proven skills of Siegel and another terrific Widmark performance (the director and star had previously collaborated on "Madigan" a year earlier). As sheriff Widmark's love interest, Lena Horne hasn't much to do, but she looks good doing it.
  • There are some pleasant and perceptive touches to this parable of the passing of the old west and the inevitability of the arrival of civilized society. This film mirrors at least two other films from 1969, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and THE WILD BUNCH. All three films try to capture the sunset of their anachronistic characters. Pike Bishop and Frank Patch have much in common. There is no room for them anymore in the West they knew. Bishop and Butch and Sundance light out for sunnier climes only to meet explosive endings. Frank Patch sees himself as a force for stability, a safeguard against primal urges that simmer on the surface and are kept in check only because he is the law. He underestimates the political climate of his town and the passion the town burghers are willing to unleash to remove him from office. Rather then move on, he is compelled to stay. I would especially like to recommend the pastoral scene where the local politicos convoy out to the fishing hole where Patch and young Dan are spending the day. It is a beautiful composition.
  • A Western that shows how the "West growed itself up and got itself civilized".Richard Widmark gives what is probably his last great performance as a Sheriff whose way a doing things don't sit right with the "powers-that-be" personified by town merchant Carrol O Conner.This movie ,like Invitaion to a Gunfighter made some years before it reveals just how gutless and desperate the power-brokers are when there's no one to do their bidding.The film still holds up (even with the much mentioned two directors)though it has that "back-lot"look to most of it.John Saxon has a brief but memorable piece of work in this must see film for western fans or good movie fans.
  • This maybe the greatest film ever directed by the elusive Allen Smithee whose name comes up on the credits of this and many other films that directors can't or don't want to claim credit for a variety of reasons. Robert Totten and Don Siegel directed it and neither wanted credit for their own reasons. So unlike Come and Get It where both Howard Hawks and William Wyler directed it and both are listed, this one was credited to the elusive Mr. Smithee, that pseudonym invented by Hollywood for one who doesn't want the credit.

    Usually they don't want the credit because it's a stinkeroo. But here this is a good western about an aging town marshal whose time as come and gone and won't see it.

    Richard Widmark is that marshal and the local bordello madam, Lena Horne is his girlfriend or one of them. The film opens with an irate husband looking to gun him down played by Jimmy Lydon. Of course he's no match for the lawman and this spurs the town council to look for a way to finally be rid of him. The town elders are such veterans as Larry Gates, Morgan Woodward, David Opatoshu, Dub Taylor, and Kent Smith.

    It becomes pretty obvious that Widmark won't take the hint and they start running out of options. For one of them it ends in tragedy.

    Carroll O'Connor plays the most interesting role here, a far cry from Archie Bunker. He owns one of the saloons and his reasons are more typical, law and order has been taking away business for too long. O'Connor is a slime ball who first tries to use others to do his dirty work.

    The others are the ones who brought Widmark to town in the first place, but now Widmark is a law unto himself. He has his own way of interpreting what needs to be done and the skill with a weapon to enforce it.

    As you can imagine it's a pretty bloody picture, but a great lesson to be learned when you allow a man on horseback to run things.

    I'm imagining though, millions of years from now; Aliens excavating our planet and through the efforts of folks like the American Film Institute come across the collected works of Allen Smithee. In their textbooks it's going to read that Smithee was a mediocre talent of whom little is known, but this one film is a great one amongst a lot of mediocrity.
  • Many times western movies are concerned with battles against Indians, duels between gunfighter or just pure adventure centered in heroes like Zorro or Durango Kid.

    That's not the case with 'Death of a Gunfighter'. This little and forgotten movie tell a story based on the life - or, to be exact, the last days of a life - of a Marshall called Frank (Widmark) in a little town at the end of Nineteen century, a town where the 'new times' are coming faster and faster and the way of life of a man like Frank is not anymore well accepted.

    Like some other western like 'The Shootist' (the last movie of John Wayne) and the more recent TV movie 'Monte Walsh', this one is a movie about loneliness, full of sadness and at the same time with violence, a harsh cruelty that falls upon the men and the women that are not prepared to live in another time and another way of life.

    Richard Widmark gives a strong performance, all the time blending sadness, disappointment and angriness with a compassionate composition of the Marshall Frank Persh. Lena Horne is a bit dislocated but the support cast is very good, especially Carrol O'Connor and John Saxon.

    'Death of a Gunfighter' is a movie that made all of us think about our lives and how we deal with the challenges put in front of us every day, especially in a world always changing. It's not a movie about heroes and courage - like almost other western movies are - but a movie about fragility.

    7 out of 10
  • How many times have I seen films on television which have astounded me with their depth and profundity and whose titles I have never heard before? Or which never come up in discussions of the classics? Death of a Gunfighter was one such movie. (The Devil's Doorway from 1950 with Robert Taylor is another.) Gazineo from Brasilia rightly compared DoaG with the Shootist (John Wayne) as portraying the passing of the frontier into more modern political structures. Especially the sharply etched scenes in the town council showing all the ethnics (Cathoic priest, Jewish merchant) being led around by the nose by the progressive Episcopalian (or whatever denomination he's supposed to be.) But there's one movie nobody has compared this film to: High Noon (Gary Cooper). DoaG is like a "High Noon noir." In High Noon the hero manages to conquer his enemies entirely on his own despite being deserted by the Establishment. But in DoaG the members of the whole establishment are the enemies and the hero does not manage to conquer them; on the contrary they get their own way most gruesomely in the end. This is somewhat of a unique plot in the history of westerns. Beautiful music by Oliver Nelson (1932-1975). What a loss to the movies! Imagine Carroll O'Connor in a pre-Archie Bunker role. That's a rarity in itself! When classic westerns are discussed DoaG must be included..
  • 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
  • Good Western with usual ingredients : Western drama , fast draw , street shootout and surprise ending . In the turn-of-the century Texas town of Cottownwood Springs , sheriff Frank Patch (Richard Widmark) in a Western town determined to become modern , and where there are cars and contemporary stores as post office , saloon , livery stable , undertaking , hardware , publishing print ... When Frank murders drunken Luke Mills (Jimmy Lydon) in self-defense , the town authorities decide it's time for a change . The city fathers (Kent Smith , Morgan Woodward , Larry Gates , Royal Dano , Carroll O'Connor , David Opatoshu) ask for Patch's resignation , but he rejects on the basis that the town on contracting him had promised him the job for as long as he wanted it . Afraid for the city's future and even more afraid of the fact that sheriff Frank seeks revenge , Eastern investors and bankers call another deputy (John Saxon) and ultimately find out a way to kill their gunslinger marshal . Then , all of them decide that old-style violence is the only way to rid themselves of the angry lawman . As Patch has to take a stand when the powerful people take over his town . What happens in the ending makes one of the most dramatic climaxes of any story you've ever seen! .

    This acceptable , meaty Western contains interesting plot , intrigue , thrills , shootouts and results to be quite entertaining . Well-paced as well as rare Western balances action , suspense and drama . It's a classical recounting about a veteran as well as unwanted sheriff , a peace-loving who is really an expert shooter and surrounded by cowards and frightening people ; being probably one of the strangest Western of the sixties . This is an atypical but thought-provoking western with a lot of reflection , distinguished moments and dramatical attitudes , in addition a multitude of enjoyable situations . The picture profits from Richard Widmark's portentous interpretation , he gives a top-drawer performance , he is an awesome expert in the art of conjuring sensational , terrific acting . Interesting screenplay from the novel "Death of a Gunfighter" by Lewis B. Patten . The traditional story and exciting script was well screen-written by Joseph Calvelli though clichés run through-out , the agreeable tale is enhanced for interesting moments developed among main characters and especially on the relationship between Richard Widmark and Lena Horne . The highlights of the film are the climatic showdowns , the love story among protagonists , and , of course , the final gundown . The casting is frankly nice . Very good acting by Richard Widmark as an old-style lawman who knows all the town's dark secrets . Here are reunited a top-notch plethora of secondary actors , many of them playing vicious citizens who take advantage of the frightened townspeople such as Carroll O'Connor , David Opatoshu , Kent Smith , Morgan Woodward , Larry Gates , Dub Taylor , John Saxon and Royal Dano . Atmospheric cinematography in Technicolor is superbly caught by cameraman Howard Jackson , though being necessary a perfect remastering . Thrilling as well as atmospheric musical score .

    The motion picture was rightly produced by Richard Lyons and well directed by Donald Siegel and also uncredited Robert Totten . However , star Richard Widmark and original director Robert Totten had "artistic differences," and Totten was replaced by Don Siegel . When the film was completed, Siegel, saying that Totten directed more of the film than he did, refused to take screen credit for it, but Widmark didn't want Totten's name on it . A compromise was reached whereby the film was credited to the fictitious "Alan Smithee" , thereby setting a precedent for directors who , for one reason or another, did not want their name on a film they made . Siegel first feature as a director was 1946's The Verdict (1946) . He made his reputation in the early and mid-'50s with a series of tightly made , expertly crafted , tough but intelligent "B" pictures , among them : The Lineup (1958), Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954) , then graduated to major "A" films in the 1960s and early 1970s . Director Siegel brought an entirely new approach to the Sci-Fi field Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) . He made several "side trips" to television, mostly as a producer . Siegel directed what is generally considered to be Elvis Presley's best picture , Flamingo Star (1960). All of Eastwood's later Western and his ¨Dirty Harry¨ movies owe a considerable debt to Sergio Leone and Donald Siegel . As Donald directed Eastwood in various films , such as : ¨Coogan's bluff , The beguiled , Dirty Harry , Escape from Alcatraz and Two mules and sister Sara¨. He had a long professional relationship and personal friendship with Clint Eastwood , who has often said that everything he knows about filmmaking he learned from Don Siegel .
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The central theme here is the idea that the town fathers of Cottonwood Springs want to find a way to get rid of their Marshal Frank Patch (Richard Widmark), because he evolved into a lawless gunman who killed opponents for no good reason. However I don't think the picture did a very good job of building that premise. The Marshal had a single gunfight at the beginning of the picture, taking out a drunken Luke Mills (Jimmy Lydon) who died some time later. In all other respects, Patch did not come on like a hot head or a bully, and when you get right down to it, he seemed to be a fairly reasonable lawman. At no time did he approach the savagery say, of a character like Gene Hackman's Little Bill Daggett, Marshal of Big Whiskey in 1992's "Unforgiven". So the basic plot of the story didn't work for me.

    Perhaps then, more could have been made of the psychological angle when it was mentioned that Patch knew too many of the town's dark secrets, like who slept around with who, and what shady business dealings they might have been involved with. This idea wasn't taken very far either, leaving another plot line simply dangling.

    Probably the best that can be said about Patch and the picture in general, is that he wasn't going to run just because he wasn't wanted. So you had some Will Kane ("High Noon") in his character, and like Kane, he married his sweetheart before the final showdown. Though the cowardly murder of Patch that followed was inevitable given the premise, it was just that, a murder, and not a successful resolution for the town of Cottonwood Springs, which would have to live with that stain after the final credits rolled.

    1969 seemed to be a seminal year for TV and movie portrayals of interracial romance. TV's first black woman/white man kiss occurred, ready for this?, between Captain Kirk and Lieutanant Uhura on an episode of Star Trek called 'Plato's Stepchildren'. That same year, things got a little bolder when ex-football player Jim Brown heated up the screen with Raquel Welch in the Western "100 Rifles". That may explain the only reason for Lena Horne to appear in this one, as her role was entirely secondary otherwise. In fact, the picture missed another opportunity by never referencing her race, when that could have added another dimension to the town father's disregard for their peace officer.
  • "Death of a gunfighter" belongs to the crepuscular western genre which would become prominent in the seventies with such works as "the shootist" .The hero (masterfully played by Richard Widmark as brilliant as ever) is definitely a man of the past ;twenty years go ,when he began his job of a marshal ,the street was not safe and the way of the gun was the only one .Now,the town longs for respectability,for a "modern" Police .The unsung hero has not realized that history is a jet plane : there are photographs in the rooms and the first automobiles (like in Sam Peckinpah's " ballad of Cable Hogue") will pretty soon leave the horse-drawn carriages far behind .

    The title speaks for itself :the marshal's fate is sealed as soon the movie begins .The old people are blasé or tired .there are two young lads ,one of them an orphan is excited by his employer's daughter ,and although she throws him a line twice,he can't make up his mind to go all the way;the other one ,after a tragic loss,thinks he can take laws in his hands and become a gunfighter like his enemy.

    The atmosphere of the movie is gloomy : it begins with a woman in mourning and ends the same way.A priest is saying prayers in the saloon as a man is dying.A wedding is to take place after a funeral.This is not your average action-packed western ,it looks like a dirge
  • Prismark1015 May 2016
    Death of a Gunfighter was directed by Robert Totten and finished by Don Siegel who took over when Totten was fired as he did not get on with star Richard Widmark.

    The gunfighter is Marshall Patch Frank (Widmark) the long tome sheriff in a small town in transition at the tail end of the nineteen century. The bad guys have gone and the town council wants to become respectable and attract new people and new industry. Their once feared Marshall in an anachronism and after one shooting too many they want him out.

    The Marshall does not one to leave, he was promised the job for as along as he wanted. He also has dirt on these important men in the council. In the background are some slimy men such as Carroll O'Connor who wants to see the back of the Marshall for their own reasons.

    I once heard a critique of the film Shane. One man rides into town, gets rid of the bad guys and then leaves. In reality he would stay, feted as a hero at first and eventually morphs into another bad guy before some years later he is confronted by someone else.

    This has what happened in this town. The Marshall did not leave and is now out of place. When he is confronted by the country sheriff a Mexican that he recruited once as a deputy despite the misgivings of the then town council, he punches him and throws him out on the street. It becomes clear to this viewer that the Marshall's unbending ways will be his undoing.

    Richard Widmark gives a fine performance of a confused man who realises that he past his sell by date and wants to stick around not knowing that he is stinking the place out. Belatedly he marries Lena Horne the local Madame and for the time it is a daring interracial romance.

    This is small scale character study. A western with veterans of the genre such as Royal Dano and Harry Carey jr but not always the stereotypes of the normal western films. It does suffer by trying to paint Widmark as too black and white a good guy when he needed more shades of grey. Maybe this is the creative differences that led to the original director departing.

    We see other characters telling him that it is always Marshall's way or no way without it being properly spelt out.

    At the end the town decides to get its own type of justice as the only way to bring the violence to an end.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film was produced at a time when the old Hayes Code was breaking down and the MPAA was still trying to figure out which rating buckets to throw movies into. So this was the first of the "grittier" western that we saw before the whole genre fell out of favor.

    The plot is a town that hired a gunslinger to be its marshal, with the understanding he was to eliminate bad guys with extreme prejudice. Now the town has a railroad and is looking for investment and wants to become all modern and such, at the cusp of the 20th century, and they want their Marshall gone. Except he doesn't want to go.

    Now I think the problem with this film is that they can't think of any other way to get rid of this guy other than killing him. Oh, wait, they get the county sheriff (Played by John Saxon) to ask him nicely to resign. It seems like the mass ambush at the end is more symbolic than practical.

    It's a fun film to watch.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Cottonwood Springs, Texas wants to go into the new century courting eastern bankers and investors. The only thing holding things back is the fear of the citizens of their town Marshall, Frank Patch(Richard Widmark), who has a troubled past and an old way of dealing with justice and the law. No one can conjure the nerve to tell Patch he is no longer wanted; but they do have the gumption to gang up on him.

    Lean Horne plays Widmark's love interest. This strong cast also features: Carroll O'Connor, Jaqueline Scott, John Saxon, Dub Taylor and Victor French. DEATH OF A GUNFIGHTER is the first crediting Alan Smithee as director. "Smithee" is credited when directors, for any reason, don't want their name associated with the movie. This particular film was originally directed by Robert Totten; but when he met disapproval from Widmark, Don Siegel finished directing.

    Horne sings a lovely and haunting tune called "Sweet Apple Wine".
  • Skip it – The 70's weren't kind to westerns, and this is no exception. I am taken aback by how many western buffs consider this to be a classic. I found it to be one of the most boring and pointless westerns I've ever seen. An aging Richard Widmark plays a sheriff in a turn-of-the-century town hell-bent on modernization. Perhaps it is a profound film in the sense that it is a good picture of a man who had trouble changing with the times. But it has a totally different feel than any of the other classic westerns. Unique movie, yes. Good western, no. There are plenty of unique westerns out there that are much, much better. 1.5 out of 5 action rating.
  • kenjha30 December 2011
    A town is unhappy with its marshall but can't get rid of him. Don Siegel was let go as the director and was replaced by Allen Smithee, the first film credited to the fictitious name, which is usually an indication that a film is likely to be not good. While the direction is lackluster, the script is even worse. Widmark plays a marshall with a reputation for a quick trigger. He refuses to turn in his badge when asked to do so by the town council, which hired him. The reason for this bizarre behavior is not explained. It's strange seeing Horne in a Western. She does OK in a rare dramatic role, although she's given little to do.
  • In continuing to review African-Americans on film and television in chronological order for Black History Month, we're now at 1969 with Death of a Gunfighter with Lena Horne in her only straight role though you do hear her recording of the song, "Sweet Apple Wine" in the beginning and end credits. Though she's billed above the title with Richard Widmark, her role of Claire Quintana is very much a supporting one that's mainly there as one of the few people who stands by Marshal Frank Patch (Widmark) as the townspeople are fed up with his violent ways of dealing with justice. Also among the supporting cast are Michael McGreevey as Dan-a young man who also likes the marshal, Darleen Carr-sister of The Sound of Music's Charmian Carr-as his girlfriend Hilda, Jacqueline Scott-probably best known as Richard Kimble's sister Donna on "The Fugitive-as the widow, Laurie Mills, of the first man killed by Patch at the beginning of the movie, Harry Carey, Jr. as Rev. Rork, John Saxon as county Sheriff Lou Trinidad who tries to get Patch to get out of town peacefully, and, in a nice surprise from his later role as Archie Bunker, Carroll O'Connor as the bar owner, Lester Locke, who bides his time in letting other people get Frank before he himself tries. Many of the cast I just mentioned and lots of others I haven't contribute great tension as the film chronicles the last days of the Marshal. Horne acquits herself nicely with her few scenes and it's nice seeing her and Widmark kiss at their wedding especially when one knows that Widmark played a racist opposite Sidney Poitier in his movie debut, No Way Out (1950). Love the music score, by Oliver Nelson, and direction especially many of the close-ups. That direction, by the way, was credited to one "Allen Smithee" which is the name used when the real director doesn't want his own name used. In this case, they're Robert Totten-who had "creative differences" with Widmark, and Don Siegel-who had filmed the actor previously in Madigan. This marked "Smithee's" feature film debut. All in all, Death of a Gunfighter was another pleasant surprise for me.
  • Nothing was filmed in Old Tucson, Az. as stated in the filming locations. This the great Universal back lot set. You can't miss the stable used in this & any many other films. Old Tuscon has a completely different look to the streets and church. Look up the filming credits for Old Tucson.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Today, "Death of a Gunfighter" has all but been forgotten, with the little memory of it being that it was the first movie to be given the "Alan Smithee" directorial credit. With that in mind, one may understandably expect a pretty bad movie, but surprisingly, the movie is actually fairly decent for the most part. Despite two directors working on the movie behind the Smithee pseudonym, the movie does have a consistent feel to it throughout. The action sequences are also pretty well done, though it should be noted that the movie is more of a character study than an action western. It's interesting that Widmark's character is not totally sympathetic, this contributing to the ability to see both sides equally of the big issue confronting the townspeople in the movie. You also see both sides of the attitude those townspeople have. The script is, I admit, a bit murky on a few details. And the movie often looks and feels that it was shot on the Universal Studio's backlot. But in the end, the movie is a decent western for those in the mood for an unconventional western drama (which includes the cynical ending of the movie.)
  • I had some initial hopes for this film, mainly because of an above average cast for a Universal western. If it had been made in the 40s or 50s it might have received a far better treatment but by the late sixties, it was looking too much like the tired old rehash of so many far better earlier westerns. Every cliché in the western book is endlessly paraded and bashed to death in this ponderous, out of its depth work. The script wallows in its 1969 new found grittiness, sex is added and talked about in keeping with the so-called new 'adult' approach to screen writing ~ not because it helps the story, but simply because now they could....

    With two directors involved, it's fully understandable that no-one would want their names associated with the final product...so out they trundle 'Allen Smithee' to cover their tracks. Richard Widmark was worthy of a far better picture but at this point in his distinguished career I suppose offers were getting a little thin. The support characters (while mostly played by fine actors) are just about all cardboard copies of numerous other 'town verses lawman' westerns, but here they're tending to look rather ridiculous.

    There are several hints the sheriff has dirt on just about every member of the town council, but no advantage is ever taken of this angle, it all just dies away as another cliché on the way to the very obvious end.

    Some nice photographic angles, and a curious music score are the only relief to the general boredom on offer. Lena Horne is wasted within a thankless set dressing role. John Saxon is good as usual, but again his is an underdeveloped character. I dare say this was made with television in mind, as the claustrophobic TV back-lot look kills off any real atmosphere. For westerns that offer a good insight into the end of the old west, best try two earlier Universal International productions; "Lonely are the Brave" in '62 and in the mid 50s another 'little' western that managed to present a good script within a small budget; "A Day of Fury" with Jock Mahoney. Seems there remains a lot of easily pleased western fans out there, so if not overly discerning this may still offer varying degrees of interest.

    A friend kindly gave me a DVD of this movie for Christmas and while the Umbrella release has good image and sound quality it's being marketed under the six shooter 'classics' banner. As we constantly see with cable TV, the word 'CLASSIC' is bandied around very loosely and is to be taken equally as loosely!. If only they knew.....
  • Warning: Spoilers
    By 1969,the traditional American western was pretty much dead and buried, nothing but a distant memory, a relic of a bygone era, the genre had been reinvented in Europe by the Italians and Spaniards and the rootin' tootin' cowboy pictures audiences once loved and craved so much were replaced by the violent, symbolic and surreal Spaghetti Western.However,Universal,whose westerns had been so popular in the 1950s,still faithfully churned out the odd favourite just the way they had a decade earlier, DEATH OF A GUNFIGHTER was one such film,. The plot is like this, in the small Texan town of Cottonwood Springs at the turn of the twentieth century, the sheriff Frank Patch(RICHARD WIDMARK)kills a drunk in self defence after the latter makes an attempt on his life, the town elders, who have wanted rid of Patch for some time because they feel they must move on from the violent ways of the past, persuade him to resign, but the stubborn lawman won't go down without a fight and elects to stay. The elders are now forced to use more brutal methods to get rid of Patch of Patch and after one of them commits suicide after being humiliated by Patch, the rest of the town and even his closest friends begin to alienate the Marshall as he descends on a downward spiral of self destruction...

    DEATH OF A GUNFIGHTER is a brilliant movie, in my opinion one of Universal's best and this movie proves that they could still make a superb and exciting western similar to the ones they were famous for. GUNFIGHTER is a brutal and gripping tale of self destruction and the effects it can have on the individual, the storyline is quite unique and I have never come across one like it in a western since, although the title ruins it a little by giving the ending away. The camera-work is excellent and there's a lot of magnificent, Leone style close-up's which add to the taut, tense atmosphere of the film, the scene in which one of the town elders tries to kill Patch was really well directed and expertly shot and the viewer can almost feel the unease of the characters involved. The film's main action scene, the climatic mass shootout was absolutely fantastic, again the camera-work which plays a major part is amazing here, I loved the way the camera follows Patch as he shoots his way through the town's empty streets and buildings. The whole sequence was planned out and scripted in an outstanding way and the suspense of the whole sequence just topped it off, I was really impressed the way that there are parts of non stop shooting and then there were lulls in the violence to allow the viewer to digest the action. My favourite part of the shootout was when Patch chases a gunman into a corral packed with Cattle, shoots him in the ribs,lassoos him and drags him out behind his horse as they guy gets trampled over by several Cows. The end of the shootout was similar to that of a Spaghetti Western, a wounded Patch staggers down the empty street to meet his fate, all we hear is the wind blowing and then you get a shot of the Mayor striking a match and lighting his Cigarette which is suddenly followed of a semi close-up of Patch violently flinching as he is riddled with bullets.

    The acting and characters were great, Richard Widmark was excellent at showcasing the raw desperation and fear of a man out of touch with the modern world, I was also extremely impressed by the performances of Carroll O Connor and John Saxon and the town elders were an excellent bunch of scumbags.The only gripe I had with the film was that it got painfully slow at times and dragged terribly at times, there's too many scenes of long, boring dialogue which is completely pointless and at times irrelevant to the plot and there's scenes in which the characters tend to veer off into some of the most dreadful conservation I've ever heard.

    DEATH OF A GUNFIGHTER is an exciting and awesome western with an intelligent, tight script and good strong characters portrayed solidly by a group of fine actors. As is the case with dozens of other westerns like it, GUNFIGHTER is definitely deserving of a DVD release.9/10.