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: Black Spurs (1965)  ( 415 )

« : February 09, 2017, 09:34:38 PM »

"Santee Turns Bounty Hunter"

Black Spurs is directed by R.G. Springsteen and written by Steve Fisher. It stars Rory Calhoun, Linda Darnell, Lon Chaney Junior, Terry Moore, Bruce Cabot, James Best, DeForest Kelly and Scott Brady. Music is by Jimmie Haskel and Technicolor/Techniscope photography is by Ralph Woolsey.

A brisk and ebullient Oater out of Paramount, Black Spurs finds Calhoun as Santee, a sharp shooting gunman turning to bounty hunting and then paid to corrupt the town of Lark. Lark has been pencilled in to receive the on coming railway, so wealthy town owner of nearby Kile, Gus Kile (Chaney), hires Santee to discredit Lark in order to have the railroad routed through Kile instead. Once in Lark, Santee finds lots of resistance, particularly from an ex-lover and her husband, the sheriff!

Plot holds few surprises as per outcome and characterisations, but the pic is no less entertaining for it. There are a number of live wire action sequences, with Santee often proving he is the number one gun in the West, and there's even some evil nastiness portrayed when things start to come to a head. The seedy saloon set up by Santee is awash with beautiful girls in beautiful costumes, and these girls drink beer out of pint pot tankards! The villains are a gruff, rough and tough bunch, and naturally there's a big good versus evil heart thundering away in the story.

Calhoun has swagger and dangerous sexuality in abundance and he's surrounded by a good cast of pros. Darnell and Chaney, however, were winding down their careers, and in truth there two characterisations could have been played by any studio actors of the time, but they don't disgrace themselves as Springsteen wisely keeps their screen time to a minimum. The Techniscope photography doesn't really add much as more could have been made of the exterior locations, while Haskel's score is a bit too jaunty for its own good.

It feels like a 50s Oater at times, which is no bad thing at all. Not prime Calhoun or a prime 60s Western, but much to enjoy here for the discerning Duster fan. 7/10

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