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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Young Billy Young (1969)

A lawman (Robert Mitchum) takes a young gunfighter (Robert Walker Jr.) under his wing as he approaches his new assignment as sheriff in the town where his nemesis is the man (John Anderson) who killed his son. This undistinguished western, directed by Burt Kennedy (SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF), is as routine as a TV episode of GUNSMOKE or RAWHIDE. Though the film is called YOUNG BILLY YOUNG, the film is about Mitchum's character but the film lacks a core. Mitchum seems rather lackadaisical about his revenge. What the film needs is the kind of intensive, repressed fire that James Stewart brought to his Anthony Mann westerns. Angie Dickinson as the saloon girl who falls for Mitchum doesn't have much to do except show off her legs and the film's finale is either a ripoff or homage to RIVER OF NO RETURN which starred Mitchum and with Dickinson subbing for Marilyn Monroe. The incongruous score is by the jazz drummer Shelly Manne and the title song is sung, quite nicely too, by Mitchum. With David Carradine, Jack Kelly, Paul Fix, Parley Baer and Deana Martin (Dean's daughter and pretty lousy) as Walker's romantic interest.

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