Westerns were still in vogue in the sixties and many classics of the genre were made during this decade. One of the driving forces in the genre was director John Sturges who made films like THE LAW AND JAKE WADE, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL and GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL. Ten years after that last film he returned to the subject matter with this film.
The movie opens with the classic showdown between lawmen Wyatt Earp (James Garner) with Doc Holliday (Jason Robards) and brothers Morgan (Sam Melville) and Virgil (Frank Converse) by his side against the Clanton gang. The film presents a different story than most in that we see a town where some are fearful of Earp and his way of doing things rather than offering full support. Previously films depicting the gunfight always portrayed him as flawless.
What follows is a trial where lies are spoken but the truth comes out as Ike Clanton (Robert Ryan) attempts to thwart the efforts of Earp to prevent him from taking over everything. When he offers money to the man that takes out the Earps things begin to go worse for Clanton. With both Virgil and Morgan shot, one dying, Wyatt and Doc recruit a few men to help and set out to track down and either kill or bring back the last members of Clanton's gang to face justice. By this time even Clanton has left town for safer spaces.
The movie wraps itself around the discussion of trying to figure out if Earp was a man seeking justice and upholding the law or if he'd become a self-proclaimed vigilante by this time. At times he seems to be one or the other but for the most part I found the character to be a little bit of both. With the way things were in the west during this period in history it would be hard to determine how to separate the two.
The movie is an entertaining western that provides plenty of action as well as scenic views of the wide open spaces. Both Garner and Robards take relish in their roles and give them life that some actors might simply walk through. The supporting actors are great as well with Ryan taking to the heel role with ease. Among the other cast members both Monte Markham and William Windom as fellow trackers aiding Wyatt and a then unknown named Jon Voight as one of the bad guys stand out. In the end this is how westerns were back then and it is a treat to watch as a fan of the genre.
Twilight Time offers the movie in a clean and beautiful presentation but with few extras. Sometimes there just aren't many to offer which is understandable. Here we have an isolated music & effect track and the theatrical trailer. With only their standard 3,000 units made if you're looking for a copy pick one up before they're gone.
Hour of the Gun
Hour of the Gun
Marshal Wyatt Earp kills a couple of men of the Clanton-gang in a fight. In revenge Clanton's thugs kill the marshal's brother. Thus, Wyatt Earp starts to chase the killers together with his friend Doc Holliday.
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December 16, 2017 at 12:07 PM