Invitation to a Gunfighter (1964)

He Kills By Invitation

When Confederate soldier Matt Weaver returns to town after the Civil War, he finds that his home has been sold by town boss Sam Brewster. Brewster hires gunfighter Jules Gaspard d'Estaing to deal with Weaver, but d'Estaing's independent approach settles the town's problems in a very unorthodox manner.

Thematically fine but executed with very little skill.
Rebel soldier Matt Weaver returns to town after the Civil War, only to find that his home has been sold by unscrupulous town boss, Sam Brewster. Brewster, fearing for his safety, hires gunfighter Jules Gaspard d'Estaing to eradicate Weaver. But as d'Estaing's settles in to town it becomes clear to him just what a corrupt and morally bankrupt bunch the townsfolk are.
It grieves me to mark a film like this, with so many good people involved with it, down so low. The thematic heart of this picture is fabulous, nothing none of us haven't seen before, but tales of hired gunmen straightening out dirty towns are always of interest if handled with care and a commitment to the moral essence. Invitation To A Gunfighter, in spite of starring Yul Brynner, George Segal, Brad Dexter, Pat Hingle and Strother Martin, and being directed by Orson Welles collaborator Richard Wilson, is ploddingly paced and acted like a low budget C movie. The score from David Raksin is intrusive and completely out of sync with the nature of the piece, whilst the back lot location is all too evident.
The piece briefly picks up entering the final third, where thankfully Brynner is asked to earn his pay outside of walking around glumly, but it's a false dawn as the finale has all the excitement of a runny nose. I'm in the minority judging by the comments written for this film thus far, so maybe it caught me at a bad time, but the chances of me ever seeking this one out again are remote to say the least. 3/10

Stanley Kramer Productions, Hermes Productions, Larcas Productions by Richard Wilson, Alvin Sapinsley, Hal Goodman, Larry Klein, Elizabeth Wilson.
Stars: Yul Brynner, Janice Rule, George Segal, Alfred Ryder.

Genres: Romance, Western

Keywords: gunshot wound shootout confederate soldier


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