on 9 June 2015
saw part of it on hotel TV , sat am 6/6/15 . Wanted to see all of it , Searched on Amazon Sunday evening ( 7/6/15 ) . Elected to pay for HD viewing.
" They don't make em like that any more " ( Thank goodness some cynics might say ) . But definitely a winner for me . Great cast alongside 2 screen giants . Great production , great every thing ! Ranks up there in the Pantheon among the likes of " Ben Hur "
Keep up the good work Amazon . Wish I could afford to retain your services.
Unfortunately the presence of two screen legends and a strong support cast, fails to lift this film above the average. It was once cruelly but accurately described as a "Geriatrics High Noon", referring to the ages of James Stewart and Henry Fonda. It must also be pointed out that the likes of Ed Begley, Jay C Flippen and Dean Jagger in the supporting cast were even older. It has to be admitted that both stars were certainly in their twilight years ane were looking rather aged, with perhaps Fonda resisting the ravages of time slightly better.
The reference to "High Noon" is because like that film this one features a community cowed by bandits, and also like that film it has one man with the courage of his convictions to stand against them. On this occasion Stewart plays the Cooper role as Johnny Cobb the part time sheriff willing to put his life on the line. His actions also echo those of Richard Widmark who stands against Henry Fonda's gunslinging anti hero Clay Blaisdell in the that fine Western "Warlock". In this film Fonda plays Bob Larkin the leader of the outlaw band. For the first time in his long and distinguished career Fonda took the part of a baddie. His Blaisdell creation could not be classified as a baddie. In that same year he also appeared famously as evil personified in Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West". He obviously got sick of being so good down the years and tossed the albatross from his shoulders with glee. We head to a the inevitable showdown between Stewart and the gang.
This is a routine Western at best. The director Vincent McEveety was more well known for his work on TV. He directed small screen classics like "Columbo" and "Murder She Wrote". His Western experience consisted of working on episodes of "Gunsmoke". His films were unfortunately very forgettable affairs, much like this one. He directed several films for the Disney studios including a couple of the Herbie films. Although the script has some good ideas they are wasted in the melodramatic direction. It is worth noting that the now forgotten but much better Fonda vehicle, "Welcome to Hard Times" made the year before, dealt with the same subject more competently.
The prices asked for these few VHS on sale are very expensive, but there are obviously only a few left in circulation. If I see one in the charity shops I will snap it up, but I am not willing to pay the prices asked at the time of this review. The film is one for fans of the two stars or Western completists.