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Thursday, November 14, 2013

The King And Four Queens (1956)

A less than ethical confidence man (Clark Gable) arrives in a small deserted town populated by an old woman (Jo Van Fleet) and her four daughter in laws: the clever Sabina (Eleanor Parker), the dangerous Ruby (Jean Willes), the gentle Oralie (Sara Shane) and the sexy Birdie (Barbara Nichols). His intention? To swindle them out of a $100,000 in gold that is hidden on the property. This robust western directed by Raoul Walsh is an entertaining if minor entry in the western canon. There's not much one can say about it. Its aspirations are pretty slight but it accomplishes them easily. In his mid 50s, Gable is every bit as virile and commanding as he was in the 1930s and his sex appeal still intact. His interactions with the five actresses are playful and charming and both he and Parker manage to keep us attracted to their characters even if they are essentially amoral rascals. The hearty score is by Alex North and Lucien Ballard's (THE WILD BUNCH) CinemaScope lensing takes full advantage of the Utah scenery. With Roy Roberts and Jay C. Flippen.

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