SIX BLACK HORSES (director: Harry Keller; screenwriter: Burt Kennedy; cinematographer: Maury Gertsman; editor: Aaron Stell; cast: Audie Murphy (Ben Lane), Dan Duryea (Frank Jesse), Joan O'Brien  (Kelly),  George Wallace (Boone),  Roy Barcroft (Mustanger), Henry Wills (Indian leader), Phil Chambers (Undertaker), Dick Pascoe (Charlie), Charlita (Mexican dancer), Bob Steele (Puncher); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Gordon Kay; Universal-International; 1962)

"Minor but compelling western programmer."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Harry Keller ("Seven Ways From Sundown"/"Tammy and the Doctor"/"Geronimo's Revenge") directs in a workmanlike but uninspiring way this minor but compelling western programmer. It's a bleak story as written by Burt Kennedy, but he sprinkles the script with quirky cowboy humor.

Kelly (Joan O'Brien) hires, for a thousand dollars each, the falsely accused horse thief Ben Lane (Audie Murphy, in a role initially intended for Randolph Scott) and his sentimental but ruthless rescuer from the rope, the gunslinger Frank Jesse (Dan Duryea), to lead her across hostile Indian territory so she can reunite with her hubby. Her secret is that she's aware Jesse killed her hubby, but the viewer doesn't realize this until it's revealed that she's out for revenge and tries to buy Audie off to kill his mean-spirited rescuer.

The strange title has to do with the outlaw's outlandish wish for a fancy funeral when he kicks the bucket.

REVIEWED ON 1/24/2015       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"