Monday, 29 October 2007


I've been waiting to see this movie - ever since I read Matt Braun's novel of the same name. I really don't know if there is an actual connection between the two beyond the subject. The film, like the book, deals with the latter years of real-life United States Marshal William Matthew Tilghman. Tilghman is a character who has fascinated me for years and while I felt that Braun's novel (which covers a longer period than the film)
was superior, John Kent Harrison's movie is very entertaining.This is in no small part due to the performance of its star (and producer) Sam Elliott. Over the years Elliott has proved himself a real star in a whole series of memorable made-for-tv Westerns and here he is totally convincing as the ageing lawman who is hired by citizens to clean-up the boom town of Cromwell, Oklahoma. The film is infused by a romantic view of the passing of the Old West (the film is set in 1924) and the "man out of time" theme that has been used often (and generally well, I feel) in many Westerns since the late Sixties. As a fan of Westerns and True West I'd love to see Tilghman's career covered by a more detailed film. Tilghman was previously played by Rod Steiger in Lamont Johnson's under-rated CATTLE ANNIE AND LITTLE BRITCHES. Tilghman himself became a film director and between 1908 and 1915 he made several movies, among them THE PASSING OF THE OKLAHOMA OUTLAWS in which he played himself. This aspect of his career is partly covered by YOU KNOW MY NAME. Rating ***

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