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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Support Your Local Gunfighter
Support Your Local Gunfighter
Kino // G // September 29, 2015
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Nick Hartel | posted October 14, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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P R I N T
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With his 1969 directorial effort, "Support Your Local Sheriff!", Burt Kennedy offered up an affable western comedy that had its share of tonal faults, but was helped in spades by star James Garner and a cast of genre stalwarts. While "Support Your Local Sheriff!" explored the common western trope of an outsider coming into a position of lawman in a wild frontier town, the 1971 follow-up in spirit and cast/crew, "Support Your Local Gunfighter" learned from its predecessors missteps while aiming for the stars by taking on one of the most well-known Eastern/Western "stranger rides into town" tales by casting Garner as Latigo Smith a comedic version of Toshio Mifune and Clint Eastwood's lone drifter characters in "Yojimbo" and "A Fistful of Dollars" respectively.

"Support Your Local Gunfighter" from start to finish is a wholly enjoyable western comedy in every sense. A self-aware film set in a town aptly tited Purgatory populated by familiar western faces such as Chuck Connors, Dub Taylor, Harry Morgan, Jack Elam, as well as Joan Blondell in one of her final career performances, once again, all these veterans play nicely off Garner's Latigo Smith, who benefits from Garner's charisma and mastery of the genre the same way "Support Your Local Sheriff!" did. Suzanne Plechette turns in a solid performance as Patiene Barton, Smith's love interest who in perhaps a case of meta screenwriting would seem to be more akin in a life with Garner's McCullough character from the previous film.

In almost every sense, "Support Your Local Gunfighter" feels like a marked improvement over its spiritual predecessor. Gone is the stilted, compartmentalized feel "Support Your Local Sheriff!" was afflicted with, rendering it more a series of TV sketches in long form. It's likely a testament to the major creative difference between the two films with the script coming from the pen of James Edward Grant this time around, a more seasoned screenwriter responsible for some genre cornerstones ("Hondo" and "McClintock" to name a few), who was able to deftly adapt the ideas and themes of "Yojimbo" and "A Fistful of Dollars" to infinitely more light hearted and broad fare. Kennedy's direction is also noteworthy, not to say it was weak in previous efforts, however with much of the same cast returning, there's a definite confidence in Kennedy's command of actors and the big screen stage. From Jack Elam's great supporting role to Garner's conman to an essential running gag involving some treasure hunters, "Support Your Local Gunfighter" is a more inspired, slick western comedy that holds up to this day, if not more than on its initial release.


THE VIDEO

The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is in my estimation, a huge step-up from the film's early MGM DVD releases, which itself was non-anamorphic and from the early days of the format. The transfer is essentially on par with "Support Your Local Sheriff!" Colors are generally vibrant, while grain is kept to a natural realistic level. There's a slight bit of compression artifacting, but nothing glaringly obtrusive. The transfer overall, captures the late 60's western look quite admirably (despite the film's early 70s origin).


THE AUDIO

The Dolby Digital English mono audio is a perfectly serviceable presentation. Dialogue is rich and clear from start to finish. Effects and score eminate with the right amount of realism and natural tone consistent with the time and budget of the film. English subtitles are included.


EXTRAS

None.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Improving in most every way from "Support Your Local Sheriff!", "Support Your Local Gunfighter" is a clever western spoof that provides viewers one more greatly appreciated big screen appearance from James Garner doing what he does so well: exude masculine charm. Kino Lorber offers up a barebones, but technically sound release of this film that is definitely worth adding to the collection, even if its spiritual kin didn't quite tickle your fancy. Highly Recommended.

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