I Saw A Film!

John Wayne, Dean Martin and Earl Holliman up against George Kennedy and James Gregory (who was in all those Dean Martin spy spoofs), who have mysteriously won the Elder family’s property (supposedly gambling) but the news is the old man took a bullet in the back, mom has passed away, and the film starts basically with a funeral. It’s made clear that Katie Elder deserved more than anyone can give, and the parson isn’t impressed with the sons.

The best part of the film is when Dean Martin raffles a glass eye in a bar in order to drum up some drinking money. Sadly, the building of the corrective gunfight, the one we are expecting between Wayne and Kennedy, doesn’t happen. Instead we get a mess at a bridge crossing, where the Elder brothers, having submitted to the law’s chains (they haven’t done anything, so they don’t see any reason not to face the court), though Dean’s character does have a backstory of having killed a man.

This sort of story always reminds us of the powerlessness of right in the face of perception. In the movies a charisma wins the day. But, not all of us are the physical power, or charisma needed to bring about the proper social change. Most of these sorts of films resemble pro-wrestling, which so often tries to mirror current social and political issues, playing to our fears and annoyances. In our day, gun rights and the perception of fear are being constantly shoved in our faces. These days we’re playing this game where wealthy gun-carrying white folks are able to shoot people of color because they fear for their lives. Reverse the roles and you’ve got no grounds for defense. I suppose just legal means of dealing with our fears and our troubles are less exciting than a fantasy gunfight.

No women are spanked in this film.

This is running on Hulu (USA).

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