Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
USA, 1959. Warner Bros., Armada Productions. Screenplay by Howard Hawks, Leigh Brackett, based on the short story by B.H. McCampbell. Cinematography by Russell Harlan. Produced by Howard Hawks. Music by Dimitri Tiomkin. Production Design by Leo K. Kuter. Costume Design by Marjorie Best. Film Editing by Folmar Blangsted.
John Wayne is terrific as the sheriff of a dusty western town who has invited all manner of trouble when he imprisons the brother of a famous criminal. The bad guy and his goons check in to the hotel across the street from the town jail, and the time is spent just waiting for the bad shit to go down. Dean Martin and Walter Brennan make for great cinema as the sheriff’s deputies, both layabouts in their own way and each of them incredibly charming, plus cute little Ricky Nelson is on hand as the pipsqueak with the desperate urge to fire a gun. The camaraderie between the leads make for the film’s most enjoyable element, while the rest of the entertainment is provided by Angie Dickinson‘s fantastic performance as the shady woman staying in the hotel and romancing our hero. It rarely gets better than this. The later favourite El Dorado was a retread on the same story.