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Author Topic: A Gunfight (1971)  (Read 170 times)
Spikeopath
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« on: February 08, 2017, 06:03:54 PM »

Whoever wins loses.

A Gunfight is directed by Lamont Johnson and written by Harold Jack Bloom. It stars Kirk Douglas, Johnny Cash, Jane Alexander, Karen Black and Raf Vallone. Music is by Laurence Rosenthal and cinematography by David Walsh.

Will Tenneray (Douglas) and Abe Cross (Cash) are two ageing gunfighters who after meeting each other in town hit it of straight away and actually like and respect each other. However, with both men in need of money and the whole town intrigued as to who would win in a gunfight between them, Tenneray hits upon the idea of the two of them having the gunfight and selling tickets to the event, with the winner receiving the ticket proceeds…

It was the first mainstream American film to be financed by American Indians—the Jicarilla Apaches—but this in now way was a propaganda move since the narrative has nothing to do with Native Americans. It's a most unusual Western in a lot of ways, off beat and deliberately played for fun at times, yet it pulses with dark thematics involving the human condition. Stripped bare is the fickle value of celebrity status, deftly cloaked with the ignorant blood-lust of a paying public.

Director Johnson keeps the pacing smooth as we get to know both men and watch their relationship unfold. All the while we are getting a grasp on the townsfolk in general, while the two ladies of the men's world are impacting greatly due to the sensitive screenplay. All roads lead to the ironic venue of a bullfighting arena across the border, where a full house of paying patrons come to see one of the men die. Whoever that is doesn't really matter, the caustic insertion of a dream sequence at film's end leaves us in no doubt that the winner really hasn't won at all.

With great performances from Douglas and Alexander, and good ones from Cash and Black, film also holds up well on the acting front. But the real stars here are Johnson and Bloom, for they have produced a clever picture that doesn't over reach itself by trying to be cerebral. It deserves to be better known and appraised. 7.5/10

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cigar joe
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2017, 09:27:26 AM »

Locked duplicate post in Other Films  Afro

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