Monday, 2 February 2015
INVITATION TO A GUNFIGHTER (1964) Directed by Richard Wilson. *
Richard Wilson's career is overshadowed by that of his mentor, Orson Welles. Nevertheless, Wilson was responsible for two outstanding films, both in the gangster genre, namely AL CAPONE with Rod Steiger and PAY OR DIE with Ernest Borgnine, His first feature was an interesting Western called MAN WITH A GUN starring Robert Mitchum and it is the themes of that film that Wilson has re-worked for INVITATION TO A GUNFIGHTER. I remember seeing the film at the time of its first release and quite liking it. I recently ordered it on DVD but have to say I was sorely disappointed. Yul Brynner as the creole gunfighter Jules Gaspard D'Estaing is very good as he often was in films unworthy of his talent. The rest of the cast is just awful with the likes of George Segal and Pat Hingle overacting like mad and Janice Rule looking like she'd rather be somewhere else. The film also suffers from some weird lapses of continuity ( a stagecoach carrying Brynner passes Segal as he walks towards town but doesn't actually arrive until the next day) and some very obvious use of stunt doubles in the action scenes. It is all very dull, wordy and a bit pretentious.