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The Good Guys And The Bad Guys Review


Bad
Burt Kennedy's The Good Guys and the Bad Guys is the kind of western that's so tired and old that it has to rely on a phony jokiness to get through the clichés. Around 1969, there were a lot of those westerns to go around -- True Grit, There Was a Crooked Man, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The War Wagon, and Kennedy's own Support Your Local Sheriff, which looks as if it were shot on the same cheap and generic western set as The Good Guys and the Bad Guys. Some of these westerns were elevated from their Cat Ballou foundation by actually not being westerns at all but, instead, interesting character studies (True Grit, Butch Cassidy) or more comedies than westerns (Support Your Local Sheriff).

But others just languished between the two extremes being neither one nor the other, in the end being nothing at all. Into this classification falls The Good Guys and the Bad Guys, a meaningless and harmless bit of flatulence that caused barely a ripple of interest in 1969, when critical sniffers where inhaling deeply of Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch.

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The Narrow Margin (1952) Review


Good
It's "protect the witness" in this brief trainbound thriller, which gives us George C. Scott-soundalike Charles McGraw as a grumpy cop protecting a mobster's wife en route to the witness stand. A mountain of obstacles -- primarily mob hitmen -- stand in the way, but it's a quick ride from Chicago to Los Angeles (at least in the movie). The film was nominated for one Oscar but is best viewed as a fun but hardly involving B-movie experience. Remade in 1990 with Gene Hackman, sans the The.

The Narrow Margin Review


Good
It's "protect the witness" in this brief trainbound thriller, which gives us George C. Scott-soundalike Charles McGraw as a grumpy cop protecting a mobster's wife en route to the witness stand. A mountain of obstacles -- primarily mob hitmen -- stand in the way, but it's a quick ride from Chicago to Los Angeles (at least in the movie). The film was nominated for one Oscar but is best viewed as a fun but hardly involving B-movie experience. Remade in 1990 with Gene Hackman, sans the The.

Force Of Evil Review


Very Good
Ah, when a gangster's attorney falls in love... A long-forgotten film noir, with Garfield as a corrupt mob lawyer intent on running the small-time numbers-runners of the city out of business so his client can pick up the pieces. Not a good guy in the bunch, and his role was so damaging it almost ended Garfield's career. A thinly-veiled outright damnation of capitalism and its merger-heavy practices. Heavy-handed but quite intriguing and poetic.

The Killing Review


Excellent
Stellar Kubrick film noir. Underrated crime thriller -- one of his great, early works. Sterling Hayden shines (as he would years later in Dr. Strangelove) as a criminal mastermind who schemes to rob a horse track on race day. Intricately plotted and with nothing left to chance, he almost gets away with it.

Continue reading: The Killing Review

Support Your Local Gunfighter Review


Good
In my world view, westerns should never be rated G, but Support Your Local Gunfighter is as good as any kid-friendly shoot-'em-up could possibly be. This sequel to Support Your Local Sheriff! sets up the congenial James Garner as a man mistaken for a vicious gunslinger (who oddly enough was an expert gunslinger in the original film) -- well, need I say that wacky hijinks ensue? It's reasonably funny as farce, forgettable as everything else.
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