Chisum [1970]

Director: Andrew Mc Laglen
Stars: Forrest Tucker, Chris George, Ben Johnson
Genre: Biography, Western
Rating: G (General Audience)
Runtime: 111 minutes

Although Chisum stars John Wayne--playing a benign variation on his Red River empire-builder --he's curiously sidelined in this umpteenth retelling of Pat Garrett, William Bonney, and the Lincoln County War. Sam Peckinpah would direct the world-class version of that götterdämmerung, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, three years later. This version, directed by Andrew V. McLaglen in a slightly less broad vein than usual, is just odd--not least because it omits Garrett and Bonney's celebrated final confrontation. Geoffrey Deuel's Billy is a pleasant juvenile who scarcely seems delinquent, let alone murderously psychotic. Glenn Corbett's characterization of Garrett consists mainly of wearing a seriously BIG hat. There's an irksome rivalry for Chisum's perky niece (Pamela McMyler), and a Dominic Frontiere score that's the Western equivalent of elevator music. Chief scoundrel Forrest Tucker seems bored, but Christopher George, Richard Jaeckel, and Bruce Cabot get some juice into their villainy. --Richard T. Jameson

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