Synopsis: When four death row escapees ride into the town of Paradise, murder its marshal, rob its bank and kidnap one of its young women, it is up to newly-deputized gunfighter Banner Cole to chase after them. Even though Cole, a loner, would prefer to chase the criminals himself, he reluctantly agrees to take a posse with him. However, a lack of enthusiasm from the town's residents results in his posse consisting of just 6 under-qualified men, including the town drunk and a newly-arrived bank clerk that has never ridden a horse.
Movie Review: Posse From Hell (1961)
A review of the 1961 western starring Audie Murphy and John Saxon.
I'm not a big fan of westerns. However, I was looking for something to watch while having breakfast this morning and, unable to find a decent mystery, decided to give this film a try. The movie, in all honesty, didn't make me a fan of the genre in general. However, I will admit it was better than I was expecting it to be.
I think the thing I liked about this movie was the way it managed to be somewhat unique when compared to other western films I've seen. There's plenty of what you would expect from a western, tough heroes, violent outlaws and exciting gunfights. But, the film also managed to mix in some interesting extras as well.
At first, I wasn't really sure what to expect from Cole's (Murphy) rag-tag posse. But, the mix of characters worked surprisingly well. Cole, himself, was a reluctant leader who only accepted his new job as deputy out of respect for the deceased marshal, the only person he liked. And, he found his authority challenged at every turn from a retired Army captain (Robert Keith) and a couple hot-headed wannabe gunslingers (Overton and Paul Carr). His other three posse members consist of a town drunk (Royal Dano), a bank clerk (Saxon) who had no business being in a posse and a Native American scout (Rudolpho Acosta), who faced his own opposition from discrimination.
As a result of this, the film wasn't quite as predictable as I thought it would be, mostly because it was hard to tell how their interaction would affect things. In fact, there were times when I wondered if maybe they would kill each other.
Another thing that surprised me about this movie was the way it wasn't afraid to sugarcoat some of the more negative aspects of the wild west. In particular, I'm referring to the woman (Lampert) that was kidnapped. I figured it would be like most other class westerns I've watched and the bad guys wouldn't do much more than rough her up a bit. But, when it is revealed she was raped and, in her humiliation, willing to kill herself rather than return to town, it's surprisingly intense and a bit heartbreaking too. This, again, made the movie much more interesting to watch than most other films I've seen in this genre.
Again, I'm still not a big fan of western movies in general. But, this one was one I did find I enjoyed watching and would recommend it as a result.
My Grade: B
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