|GUNFIGHT AT COMANCHE CREEK (director/writer: Frank McDonald; screenwriter: Edward Bernds; cinematographer: Joseph Biroc; editor: William Austin; music: Marlin Skiles; cast: Audie Murphy (Bob Gifford/aka Judd Tanner), Jan Merlin (Nielson), Reed Hadley (Narrator), Colleen Willer (Abbie Stevens), DeForrest Kelley (Amos Troop), John Hubbard (Marshal Shearer), Adam Williams (Jed Hayden), Damian O'Flynn (Winton), Ben Cooper (Phil Carter), Susan Seaforth (Janie), Mort Mills (Ben Brady), Michael Mikler (Reno Waller), Laurie Mitchell (Tina), John Milford (Bill Peters); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ben Schwalb; Allied Artists; 1963)|
detective story and Western."
by Dennis Schwartz
McDonald ("Isle of Fury"/"Smart Blonde"/"My
Pal Trigger") directs this routine Western that's set
in 1875, in Comanche Creek, Colorado. It's a remake of
the Last of the Badmen. Audie Murphy plays the
detective part previously played by George Montgomery.
It's written by Edward Bernds, as a hybrid detective
story and Western.
ruthless gang, working mostly out of the Colorado
territory, springs wanted men from jail and then
forces them to be unmasked as front men in robberies,
and then kills them to collect the now higher reward,
Detective Agency, located in Wichita, assigns its top
agent Bob Gifford (Audie Murphy) to Comanche Creek to
pose as wanted stage coach robber Judd Tanner and
infiltrate the gang. The detective's best friend,
Nielson (Jan Merlin), is assigned to be his
watchdog. When Gifford is easily freed from Marshal
Shearer's (John Hubbard) jail, he's taken to the
mountain ranch owned by the elderly Winton (Damian
O'Flynn). There Gifford meets Winton's unhappy
granddaughter Janie (Susan Seaforth) and field gang leader
Troop (DeForrest Kelley), Hayden (Adam
confused lovesick youngster Carter (Ben Cooper) and
the always angry Ben Brady (Mort Mills). Ben's the
go-between for the secretive big boss in town, who
gives the marching orders.
Audie plays the role of the
cool ladies man too lighthearted and the tension never
builds as it should. There's also a tepid romance
thrown in with Audie and the attractive lady casino
owner (Colleen Willer). But the film's main
problem is that the premise never struck me as
something believable. It seems easier to just rob
banks than go through the gang's lunatic scheme.
To give it the feel of a
1940s detective story, there's an unseen and
unnecessary narrator (Reed Hadley)
REVIEWED ON 7/28/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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