Sunday, April 22, 2018

More Dead Than Alive (1969)

Director: Robert Sparr

Writer: George Schenck

Composer: Philip Springer

Starring: Clint Walker, Vincent Price, Anne Francis, Paul Hampton, Craig Littler, Mike Henry, Clarke Gordon, Beverly Powers, William Woodson

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Killers in pairs... death by the dozen... They left the west... More Dead than Alive.

Plot: When the multiple murderer Cain is released from prison after 18 years, he wants to settle down as a rancher and never touch a gun again. But his former life haunts him; not only that nobody wants to give him a job, some villains also want to pay him back. So he has to accept the offer of showman Ruffalo to perform as "Killer Cain" in his traveling shooting show. However after 18 years without practice even Ruffalo's young assistant Billy shoots better than Cain.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

This is one of three feature films from director Robert Sparr, who worked almost exclusively in TV.  Composer Philip Springer had four credits prior to this picture and two were in TV.  All of this adds up to...this movie sometimes feels like it was made by folks with a TV sensibility, especially in the score.  Springer's music is thin, light and comical - all of which work against the film.  It's pretty bad.  That's almost the only bad I can about this. It's still a very good movie thanks to things like Clint Walker's stoic performance which works in his favor.  Sometimes his style doesn't quite fit the role but in this one he's great.  Vincent Price is great as always but it's a different role for him and I loved it.  It's nice to see him away from the horror pictures during this period.  Everyone else in the cast does a fine job.  Now, the story feels like one you've probably seen before but writer George Schenck (another almost exclusive to the television industry) adds some things to it that make this one stand out.  What happens with Ruffalo (Price) is a shocker and everything from there to the end put a jaw-dropping grin on my face.  Don't read any spoilers on this picture because the ending was balls-out fucking brutal and incredible.  Craig Littler is ferocious.  The only other thing I don't like about this picture is the corny song that's sung at the end.  Silence would've served the film better or at least an burst of an ominous orchestral minor chord.  Cool fact...Clint Walker is coming up on his 91st birthday.  This film came next after his great turn in THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967).

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