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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Support Your Local Sheriff / Support Your Local Gunfighter (Blu-ray)
Support Your Local Sheriff / Support Your Local Gunfighter (Blu-ray)
Twilight Time // G // February 16, 2016 // Region Free
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Twilighttimemovies]
Review by Nick Hartel | posted March 14, 2016 | E-mail the Author
C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
E X T R A S
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Highly Recommended
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Back in October I had the opportunity to review two classic James Garner western comedies, "Support Your Local Sheriff" and "Support Your Local Gunfighter". Marked improvements over their antiquated MGM releases, Kino's DVDs were nice upgrades for fans of the films. Now, Twilight Time offers up fans an HD offering of both films on one Blu-Ray in one of their limited edition releases. As I had previously reviewed the films less than half a year ago, my thoughts have remained unchanged and the movie review section of this review is taken from my previous reviews of each standalone DVD.

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF

Having made a career both behind the lens and the typewriter for a number of lessons, when it came time for genre veteran, Burt Kennedy to film the 1969 western comedy, "Support Your Local Sheriff!", the outcome was likely to go two ways: an end product that is comfortable and competent or perhaps an audacious experiment (much like his misguided directorial work on the first big screen adaptation of Jim Thompson's "The Killer Inside Me"). Assembling a cast of genre veterans and a script by William Bowers, no stranger to the Western stage himself, "Support Your Local Sheriff!" would put to good use, seven years removed from "Maverick," the always welcome James Garner as a traveling man, quick with a gun and cool tempered, who by the end of the film's first act becomes the titular lawman in a truly farcical town.

Unlike its sequel-in-spirit (and cast/crew), "Support Your Local Gunfighter," "Support Your Local Sheriff!" has its share of missteps over it's speedy 93-minute runtime. Nearly five decades later, much of what doesn't work so well about the film can be attributed to other films hitting it out of the park on a more frequent basis. Narratively, "Support Your Local Sheriff!" operates on a familiar, sitcom-esque sequence based formula. The jokes and gags are more compartmentalized than even a simple three-act structure. Scenes build to some sort of payoff, eventually lulling audiences into a serene calm that isn't going to excite, but is rarely going to fail to entertain. The screenplay itself from a structural standpoint trades on genre cliches and rightfully so, but is best on its own, when it plays up the more farcical nature of the tale as highlighted in our hero's sheriff's office which must be seen to be believed.

The main attraction here is the film's star, Garner, who like he has done many times before and did many times after, exudes an indelible charisma, turning his Jason McCullough character from his own cliched roots, to a character of principle, wit, charm, and a hidden sense of "don't start none, won't get none" attitude. Garner is coasting at times on his "Maverick" days although this is in no way a bad thing, as audiences saw years later in the big-budget adaptation of that film (which owes a few things here and there to this film), that Garner's Bret Maverick is truly an iconic character. Garner is served quite well by a supporting cast featuring familiar western faces such as Jack Elam, Harry Morgan, and Walter Brennan, while Joan Hackett and a very young Bruce Dern fill the roles of romantic and physical foils respectively and competently.

MOVIE: 3.5/5.0
REPLAY: 3.0/5.0


SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GUNFIGHTER

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.

MOVIE: 4.5/5.0
REPLAY: 4.5/5.0



THE VIDEO

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF

The 1.85:1 1080p widescreen transfer is definitely a marked improvement over the recently released Kino DVDs. In general none of the technical hiccups of the DVDs such as compression artifacts are present on this disc. Colors pop nicely on the screen and capture not only the genre quite splendidly, but the timeframe of the production. It's a very clean print that sports above average detail, which in actuality is the transfer's weakest aspect. There are still some noteworthy titles from the same era that have appeared with sharper transfers on Blu-Ray, however, that's no knock against this release, which is definitely worth the investment for superior A/V. Contrast levels are well balanced and film grain is present in natural fashion, with DNR being completely absent from the frame.

VIDEO: 3.5/5.0

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GUNFIGHTER

The 1.85:1 1080p widescreen transfer is definitely a marked improvement over the recently released Kino DVDs and is essentially identical in terms of quality to its predecessor. In general none of the technical hiccups of the DVDs such as compression artifacts are present on this disc. Colors pop nicely on the screen and capture not only the genre quite splendidly, but the timeframe of the production; the one deviation from the prior film, is here colors are a bit more intense, reflecting some shifts in production design. It's a very clean print that sports above average detail, which in actuality is the transfer's weakest aspect. There are still some noteworthy titles from the same era that have appeared with sharper transfers on Blu-Ray, however, that's no knock against this release, which is definitely worth the investment for superior A/V. Contrast levels are well balanced and film grain is present in natural fashion, with DNR being completely absent from the frame.

VIDEO: 3.5/5.0

THE AUDIO

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF

The English 1.0 DTS-HD MA track is a very warm and inviting offering. There's some minor warmth in the LFE despite the basic origins of the sound track itself. Dialogue is free of crackles and routinely crisp throughout, never getting lost amidst the score or the effects. Overall, it's a very pleasant offering that benefits from truly lossless audio and definitely sounds a few notches above the DVD offerings.

AUDIO: 4.0/5.0

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GUNFIGHTER

The English 1.0 DTS-HD MA track is a very warm and inviting offering, equal in quality to its predecessor. There's some minor warmth in the LFE despite the basic origins of the sound track itself. Dialogue is free of crackles and routinely crisp throughout, never getting lost amidst the score or the effects. Overall, it's a very pleasant offering that benefits from truly lossless audio and definitely sounds a few notches above the DVD offerings.

AUDIO: 4.0/5.0


EXTRAS

Each film features an isolated score track that's a pleasant surprise as well as their original theatrical trailers. "Support Your Local Sheriff" does feature a commentary track from film historians Lee Pfeiffer and Paul Scrabo. It's a track well worth a listen that's bound to please a fan of either film


FINAL THOUGHTS

Getting to revisit these films so soon again on Blu-Ray hasn't changed my opinions of either as separate entities. As a complete package, Twilight Time's offering of "Support Your Local Sheriff" and "Support Your Local Gunfighter" stands as the definitive release of both films in any medium to date. The HD video and audio is definitely an improvement over DVD and the added bonus of a commentary track for the original entry is an unexpected and welcomed surprise (I'll also give Twilight Time major praise for the minimalistic, but thematically fitting artwork that adorns the DVD case). Although one could make a case for owning just one film over the other, chances are if you love one of these classic Garner films, you'll love the other. Highly Recommended

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