HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Aurora Encounter, The
Breaking In
Breaking In
Please Stand By
Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County, The
Deadpool 2
Smart Money
Lupin the Third vs. Detective Conan: The Movie
Gangsta
3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt
Magic Serpent, The
That's Not Me
There Goes the Bride
Billy the Kid versus Dracula
Liquid Sword
I, Tonya
Universal Soldier: Regeneration
Bad Match
Güeros
Anchor and Hope
One, The
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Lucky
Still of the Night
Home Sweet Homicide
Mannaja - A Man Called Blade
Spitfire
Killers from Space
Castle of the Creeping Flesh
Ghost Stories
   
 
Newest Articles
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
The Edie Levy: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Ciao! Manhattan
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
   
 
  Gunfight, A Quick On The DrawBuy this film here.
Year: 1971
Director: Lamont Johnson
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Johnny Cash, Jane Alexander, Karen Black, Raf Vallone, Dana Elcar, Keith Carradine, Robert J. Wilke, Eric Douglas, Paul Lambert, James Cavasos, Philip L. Mead
Genre: Western
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: A gold prospector (Johnny Cash) is riding towards the small town where he hopes to get some money for what he has found when his horse is bitten by a rattlesnake. He shoots the snake, but his horse is injured, so when he reaches town he takes it straight to the blacksmith's to let the animal recover. Then he goes over to exchange his gold for money, but is disappointed when he doesn't receive as much as he thought he was due; and not only that, when he gives his name to the banker, as is the law, rumours start to spread. He is Abe Cross, a notorious gunfighter from a few years back who many believed was dead. As it so happens, another retired gunfighter, Will Tenneray (Kirk Douglas) lives in this town, and the expectation of the locals is that they will eventually fight...

Financed by a tribe of American Indians, A Gunfight saw two real life legends playing two fictional legends, film star Douglas and country music star Cash facing up against each other. While Douglas was renowned for his forceful screen personality, Cash wasn't really a great actor, and mostly appeared in TV movies, unless you count Door To Door Maniac. Then there was that episode of Columbo, remember? The one with him parachuting out of the plane? Anyway, this movie probably represents his best role outside of one of his concert documentaries as he has such a history behind him that he is believable as a mythic figure.

Scripted by Harold Jack Bloom, one of the producers, the film is basically a long preamble leading up to the expected showdown. Tenneray lives in the town with his wife Nora (Jane Alexander) and young son (Eric Douglas, Kirk's son offscreen too), and is coasting on his slowly dwindling reputation. So now Cross is here, he has a brainwave inspired by the bullfighting held over the border: he can make a lot of money, enough to get out of town, by challenging Cross to a gunfight in the bullring and charging folks for tickets to see it. At first his would-be opponent is unhappy about this arrangement, but when his horse has to be put down and he is left unable to afford another, he changes his mind.

Douglas was an old hand at westerns by this time, but Cash acquits himself surprisingly well for a non actor, even if he does tend to fall back on being grumpy to convey his character's personality - and of course he is dressed in black throughout. There's no doubt that Tenneray and Cross respect each other, but Tenneray seems to be more confident about winning than his opponent. Nora doesn't want the contest to go ahead at all, not quite as confident as her husband, and Cross has befriended a prostitute, Jenny (Karen Black) who also doesn't want to see her champion die. But the upcoming killing is now inevitable.

There's something cheap and morally bankrupt about the whole set up, and it's as much the fault of the audience as it is the fighters who have been encouraged by them, if not more so. Because they can't escape their reputations, those reputations will be the death of Cross and Tenneray sooner or later, and not necessarily at the hands of each other. After hearing of the contest, a young gunfighter (Keith Carradine) arrives in town to challenge them both, only to be shot down by Tenneray after he has injured the marshal, more proof of the approaching doom. But Bloom seems reluctant to let either one be triumphant, perhaps as a nod to the fans of both actors, so what you get is an ending where both win (and both lose). It could be a way of showing that there are really no winners, or it could be a gigantic cop out, but it does leave you pondering. Music by Laurence Rosenthal, with a title song by Cash.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3746 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
  Afra Khan
  Dan Malone
   

 

Last Updated: