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Author Topic: Hour of the Gun (1967)  (Read 8103 times)
Groggy
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« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2011, 06:45:15 PM »

Good to hear Jill. I've wanted to see Hour of the Gun for a long time but can't seem to track it down.

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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2011, 02:31:41 PM »

Good to hear Jill. I've wanted to see Hour of the Gun for a long time but can't seem to track it down.

Groggy: you can get Hour of the Gun on iTunes. And don't pay any attention to the naysayers; this is a very, very good film. Garner is good as Earp, and Robards is absolutely terrific as Holliday.

The Firecracker: I have to respectfully disagree with you: this is not the most accurate portrayal of the Gunfight, considering that this movie depicts the gunfight as having actually taken place in the OK Corral, when in fact it took place in a lot near the corral.

and just for the record (in case it wasn't settled;-) My Darling Clementine is a wonderful film


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« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2011, 05:22:04 PM »

I completely stand by my previous comments - this is one bland, unimaginative telling of Tombstone. I also forgot to add that it falls victim to courtroom scenes in the 3rd act. That's almost always unforgivable and lazy, this is no exception.

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« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2011, 01:12:34 AM »

I completely stand by my previous comments - this is one bland, unimaginative telling of Tombstone. I also forgot to add that it falls victim to courtroom scenes in the 3rd act. That's almost always unforgivable and lazy, this is no exception.

I think the courtroom scenes are just fine; they are pretty brief and just set the stage for the Clantons' revenge (though I am a recent law school graduate, so perhaps a bit biased  Wink

On the subject of courtroom scenes in a Western: have you seen "The Return of Frank James"? The courtroom scenes in that one are absolutely hilarious!
(btw, that is a terrific movie; as is "Jesse James." The newspaper editor is just great; and I wonder if that influenced John Ford's creation of a funny, drunk newspaper guy in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.")

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« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2011, 01:45:26 AM »

For me the courtroom scenes in HotG are also pretty good. Sturges best western of the 60s and 70s.

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Jill
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« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2011, 09:22:40 AM »

I liked the first courtroom scene. Ike thinks he'll win.... then he's pwn'd.  Evil

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« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2011, 04:31:03 PM »

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For years I'd been looking forward to seeing Hour of the Gun (1967), John Sturges's revisionist take on the Wyatt Earp legend. Perhaps that's the reason why I found it a bit underwhelming.

After the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral, Tombstone lawmen Wyatt Earp (James Garner) and Doc Holiday (Jason Robards) are placed on trial for murder at the behest of Ike Clanton (Robert Ryan), Tombstone crime boss and Earp's business rival. After the Earps are acquitted, Clanton's henchmen cripple Wyatt's brother Virgil (Frank Converse) and kill Morgan (Sam Melville). Wyatt is appointed US Marshal and with a posse including Doc, tracks Clanton's gang throughout Arizona Territory and beyond, less resembling a manhunt than a vendetta.

John Sturges had previously directed Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957), perhaps the most unabashedly romantic Wyatt Earp film. Hour of the Gun functions as both a sequel and a rebuke to his earlier film: by starting the film with the infamous gunfight, the film becomes a study in moral ambiguity, culminating in Earp's murderous vendetta ride against the Cowboys.

Hour of the Gun is the first Earp film to move beyond frontier romanticism of My Darling Clementine. In this version, Earp and Clanton are merely opponents in a nasty turf war, representing competing political and economic interests. This Ike Clanton is a shrewd, callous businessman, willing to bend any rule or sacrifice anyone (even his brother) to further his ends. Wyatt Earp is painted in decidedly dark tones, no longer a good-hearted lawman but a vengeful killer who tricks and traps opponents into unfair duels. It doesn't go as far as Doc or Wyatt Earp in tearing Earp down, but Hour's measured revisionism makes for interesting viewing.

Unfortunately, Hour of the Gun is let down by some bogus dramaturgy. Edward Anhalt's long dialogue scenes and heavy use of interiors give the movie the feel and rhythm of a TV show. Lucien Ballard's outdoor photography is gorgeous but we don't see enough of it amidst all the talk. Wyatt's belated meeting with Eastern businessmen throws the narrative off-balance, and the final duel with Clanton is a damp squib. For a movie that boldly proclaims "this is the way it happened," it has several gaffes that fall into Public Enemies territory: altering history to something less interesting.

James Garner tones down his usual swagger, but his stoicism makes for one of the blander screen Earps. Jason Robards plays Doc Holiday with the perfect wistful melancholy, which he'd revive in Once Upon a Time in the West the following year. Robert Ryan (The Wild Bunch) gives an intelligent performance, making Ike a shrewd businessman rather than feral prairie scum. The supporting cast features some interesting names: Steven Ihnat (The Chase), Jorge Russek, Albert Salmi (The Bravados) and a young Jon Voight as Clanton's henchmen, Larry Gates (The Sand Pebbles) and Karl Swenson (Major Dundee) as townspeople.

Hour of the Gun was a probably a victim of my unreasonably-high expectations. It's a fine oater with an interesting take on the Wyatt Earp legend, but it's far from the best version of the story. 7/10

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2011/10/hour-of-gun.html

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« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2016, 10:17:26 PM »

I just saw this movie again part of TCM's Western series this summer and I am really, really down on it. This is no better than 6/10.

The movie, especially the first half, feels more like a drama than a Western. Could have taken place anywhere, they just slap 19th century clothes on the characters, name them Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, and voila, this is supposed to be a Western. As others have indicated earlier in this thread, it's just a plain old drama and not a very good one.

One thing I found interesting: At the end, when Wyatt visits Doc at the sanitarium, Doc says, "Do me a favor, will you get out of here? Come on, don't hang around." I wonder if this was the source of Cheyenne (also played by Robards) at the end of OUATITW, asking Harmonica to go away and not watch him die. Not sure if this was ever mentioned in the thread about Western references in OUATITW, but I'll add it to that thread.

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« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2017, 01:28:48 AM »

Adding my review.

If you are going to kill like me, you might as well drink like me.

Hour of the Gun is directed by John Sturges and adapted to screenplay by Edward Anhalt from Douglas D. Martin's novel Tombstone's Epitaph. It stars James Garner, Jason Robards and Robert Ryan. Music is by Jerry Goldsmith and cinematography is by Lucien Ballard. Story begins with the shootout at the O.K. Corral and tells of the aftermath involving the major players.

Although John Sturges' Gunfight at the O.K. Corall ten years previously proved to be popular, the director was never happy with the finished project, due in no small part to the fact that Hal B. Wallis controlled the script. Here Sturges takes control and crafts what in essence is a sequel to the 57 movie. Leaning more towards a character study with a dark edge, Hour of the Gun is refreshing in giving the Wyatt Earp/Doc Holliday characters a different story than the one we normally see on the screen; one that actually attempts historical accuracy where possible.

Viewing it now it's easy to see why the film was received coldly back on release. The Western movie was just about creaking along as a viable cinematic genre as it was, but with Sturges and Anhalt portraying one of America's folklore heroes in moral decline, it's unsurprising that it found itself out of sync with the times. However, time has been very kind to it, where over decades the re-evaluation of many a psychological Western has seen it viewed as one of the more bolder and cynical tinted oaters from the 60s.

With a fine script from Anhalt to work from, who also features as a player in the film as Holliday's whiskey smuggling carer, the cast work well. Ryan files in for villain duties as Ike Clanton and Garner as Earp and Robards as Holliday make for a suitably sombre pairing. There's also some quality in the support ranks where Albert Salmi, John Voight, Jorge Russeck and Karl Swenson leave good impressions. With Goldsmith tonally aware for the scoring and master photographer Ballard utilising the Panavision on offer for the Durango locations, it's an all round well put together production.

Some fat could have done with being trimmed off it to get it 10 minutes shorter; for the story starts to feel over long entering the last quarter. But Hour of the Gun is not only a better than your average 60s Western, it's also one of the better Wyatt Earp movies available to those interested in the subject. 7.5/10

Region 2 DVD.

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« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2017, 04:51:44 PM »

TT is bringing it to blu in September.

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« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2017, 10:49:05 AM »

Re watched this today, I like it it's good but not great. Some sequences are magnificent others so so very uneven. The courtroom scenes aren't as tedious this go round, lol, that's what happens when you compare it to recent stuff like Meek's Cutoff, some of these older Westerns are looking like almost masterpieces by comparison. Still a 7-7.5/10

The shootout sequence at the railway station/rail yard in Tucson is a gem, I think it has the only tank rail car I've ever seen in a Western, though they had wrought iron tank cars on railroads since 1869.

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