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3.9 out of 5 stars
The Bounty Killers [DVD]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Bounty Killer is directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and written by Ruth Alexander and Leo Gordon. It stars Dan Duryea, Rod Cameron, Audrey Dalton, Richard Arlen, Buster Crabbe, Fuzzy Knight and Johnny Mack Brown. Music is by Ronald Stein and cinematography by Frederick E. West.

Willie Duggans (Duryea) arrives in the Wild West and quickly becomes exposed to its violence. Finding that big money can be made by bringing in bad guys, he takes up arms and plans to make enough money to set him up for a future with Carole Ridgeway (Dalton), a beautiful saloon singer. But the job isn't easy, physically, emotionally and mentally.

It's a film that asks some forgiveness from Western fans, you are asked to accept Duryea being too old for the role, some iffy production issues, coincidences and some giant leaps of faith. Yet if you can do that and just roll with its high energy willingness to keep the Western traditional in the mid 60s? Then this is better than a time waster.

Ultimately it's a message movie about the cycle of violence and how said violence can corrupt the most amiable of minds. The screenplay deftly brings in to the equation the roles of normal outsiders who don't mind violence as long as it is for their own ends, something which brings the best sequence in the film to the fore and lets Duryea once again show his class. Backing the superb Duryea is a roll call of Western movie veterans, all of which - with the leading man - make for a reassuring presence at our Oater dinner table. Neatly photographed out of the Corriganville and Glenmoor ranches in California, this may be a "B Western" trying to keep the traditional Western afloat in the mid 60s, but it's honourable in intent and entertains the Western faithful royally. 7/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
There is no doubt that Dan Duryea is much too old for the lead role and that the film is a bit heavy handed at times, but it is also, as has rightly been pointed out, an affectionate and respectful homage to those old poverty row sagebrush sagas of yore. The veteran director Spencer Gordon Bennet directed many of those old cowboy heroes like Bill Elliott, Buck Jones, Colonel Tim McCoy and Tex Ritter to name a few and was well placed to bring together a few old stars for one last hurrah. Bennet was a useful source of information for Jon Tuska when he wrote his epic paean to the B western "The Filming of the West". Bennet obtained the substantial services of Buster Crabbe, Johnny Mack Brown, Bob Steele, Rod Cameron, Richard Arlen and even managed to coax the screens very first cowboy star Gilbert M "Broncho Billy" Anderson out of retirement for one last film. Anderson went way back to the dawn of the western appearing in "The Great Train Robbery" (1903). Some cast!

The film itself is very atmospheric and exceeded my expectations. It concerns a man who falls into bounty hunting by accident and highlights the perils of hunting human beings for money. Interestingly it explores not only the morals of the hunter but also those of the people that put up the bounties. You have to ignore how quickly Duryea becomes proficient at his trade and concentrate on the films many strong points. Duryea's 'wind wagon' dreaming partner is not exactly your average sidekick and provides a central theme to the film. The films sombre but beautiful bar room music creates a tangible atmosphere of something lost. Maybe the thrill of those old serial westerns? I also loved the memorable scenes with the loves struck piano player, again highlighting the sense of loss.

I suppose you could never call this film a classic by any means, and yet it is strangely beguiling. Dan Duryea was a great actor even in the twilight of his career, so what does it matter if he is a little old for the part! Mention should be made of the fact that one of the screens great western heavies Leo Gordon co wrote the intriguing script. But the mother lode in this film is the cowboy hall of fame cast who show that they can still cut the mustard. The attractive Audrey Dalton provides the rather young love interest and look out for Duryea's son Peter making a telling appearance at the films end! Essential viewing for fans of those old westerns! Definitely an endangered minority group these days!

Johnny Mack Brown 1904-1974
Gilbert M 'Broncho Billy' Anderson 1880-1971
Bob Steele 1907-1988
Buster Crabbe 1908-1983
Richard Arlen 1899-1976
Rod Cameron 1910-1983
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 December 2013
Dan Duryea could carry a film even when not in the lead role. A decent underated movie this turns out to be with Duryea in the main part. I enjoyed it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2014
This 1965 western was one of the last Dan Duryea made, although shot on a shoestring it was obviously made with a lot of love and affection for the genre. The cast list says it all with lots of cameos from western stars in their twilight years. The script is cracking and the e picture quality and audio are fine, the only problem is that the 55 year old Duryea plays a character who should be no older than 35, but if you can buy into that then this film is well worth watching, it's a gem .
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on 5 November 2014
I was disappointed in this western - not the usual Duryea of previous movies and the story was a bit silly.
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bit slow at first. but when it picked up .it was quite good.w lester
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on 19 September 2014
excellent
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2014
Duryea is too old for his part. Rod Cameron is only in a couple of scenes and they gave the beautiful Audrey Dalton as Duryea love interest!
But apart from those minor quibbles this is a unusual Western with lead character aTenderfoot and his character arch is an interesting journey. This is a last Hooray for Cowboy stars from yesteryear Arlen, Crabbe, Johnny Mack Brown etc.
The print used is good and sound also good. I would recommend this to all Western fans, this is sort of a reworking of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
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