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Monday, August 29, 2011

Wichita (1955)

Wyatt Earp (Joel McCrea) arrives in Wichita, Kansas with the intention of setting up a small business. But he discovers Wichita is a wide open, lawless town where anything goes. When offered the job of town marshal he declines ... at first. Directed by Jacques Tourneur of CAT PEOPLE fame, this is an efficient, economical western with modest aims. The film feeds off the legend of Wyatt Earp while paying little heed to the actual facts. At 50, McCrea is a bit mature to be playing Wyatt at this stage of Earp's life and his romancing of the 26 year old Vera Miles seems awkward, especially when he's closer in age to the 45 year old Mae Clarke who plays Miles' mother. The film was shot in CinemaScope but Harold Lipstein (HELLER IN PINK TIGHTS) doesn't utilize the format to its full advantage though the film has a nice clean look to it. The colorless score is by Hans Salter. With Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, John Smith, Keith Larsen (as Bat Masterson), Edgar Buchanan, Carl Benton Reid, Jack Elam, Robert J. Wilke and as a bank teller in a hold up, future director Sam Peckinpah.

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