Movie Diary 5/14/2023

No Name on the Bullet (Jack Arnold, 1959). Audie Murphy plays a renowned assassin who rides into town, causing the locals to freak out with fear. It’s a great, modern idea for a picture, kind of a sideways High Noon: Murphy needs to do almost nothing for the townspeople to start destroying themselves. He’s good in this one, clad in black and blue and considered in his movements. I wish the movie were livelier; something about the widescreen seems to slow everything down. Arnold was a couple of years past The Incredible Shrinking Man and just about to get into TV in a big way.

A Time for Dying (Budd Boetticher, 1969). One of the most bizarre “late movies” ever made by a good director, a low budget western with Victor Jory in absolutely demented form as Judge Roy Bean and producer Audie Murphy in a graceful cameo as Jesse James. The casting of the lead roles is catastrophic, the tone is all over the place, and some of the ideas are intriguing. The ending is very 1969, a true “fuck off” from a project that apparently was meant to be a tax write-off.


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