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Monday, January 30, 2017

Support Your Local Sheriff (1969)

A small town in Colorado thrives overnight when gold is found but the lawlessness is so bad that they can't keep a sheriff. He's either killed or runs away. Enter a drifter (James Garner) on his way to Australia and things are about to change. Directed by Burt Kennedy, this is an absolutely delightful western spoof. Maybe not as laugh out loud ridiculous as BLAZING SADDLES but sweetly good natured as it ribs the genre. By 1969, Sergio Leone had reinvented the western and Sam Peckinpah would soon turn it on its ear with THE WILD BUNCH so what was left but to parody it? But SUPPORT does so with affection rather than condescension. While its box office legs were wobbly at first, word of mouth made it a hit and eventually there was a sequel 2 years later, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GUNFIGHTER. The cast is impeccable with everyone in on the joke but thankfully no one over tips their hand. Joan Hackett is adorable as the feisty but clumsy heroine, Walter Brennan parodies the role he played in MY DARLING CLEMENTINE and western veteran Jack Elam just about walks off with the picture as the unwilling deputy (his double takes are hilarious). Also with Bruce Dern, Henry Jones, Harry Morgan, Kathleen Freeman, Gene Evans and Willis Bouchey.  

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