Hour of the Gun (1967)
Sound: C+ Extras: C Film: B-
The story of Wyatt Earp has been translated on-screen
countless times and with more mixed results than just about any story out
there. Director John Sturges would
direct Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
in 1957 and then 10 years later with Hour of the Gun, which would star
James Garner in the lead role as Wyatt Earp.
So the question that might be on the minds of most is why he would
decide to direct another film about the same subject matter in such a short
period of time.
The answer to that might be as simple as the fact that in
those 10 years Sturges would become a bigger name after the success of such
classics like The Magnificent Seven
(1960) and The Great Escape (1963),
which is also reviewed on this site. He
also directed a handful of noble films in that time as well, which were not as
memorable, but equally strong such as The
Last Train From Gun Hill, which is reviewed on this site too. Sturges now had bigger clout to direct a
film that he wanted to make as well as tell the story in a different light than
the previous film.
Hour of the Gun is drastically different from
your typical versions ranging from My
Darling Clementine (1940) all the way up to the two 90’s versions Tombstone and Wyatt Earp. The immediate
difference is that the climax part of the other versions is almost right at the
beginning of this film with the main showdown taking place at the O.K.
Corral. The remainder of the film
actually gets to some of the details that occurred after that and focuses more
time on other characters besides just Wyatt.
What kills the film is it’s fake Western feel that it has
going for it with really poor sets that just scream for attention. This is as typical as it gets for a Western,
so if that’s what you are looking for you are in the right place. The acting is good and the overall film
works pretty good with some minor setbacks.
I wouldn’t go into this one expected a Sergio Leone film or a John Ford
one either, but if you enjoy those B-Western variety than you will this is a
MGM has issued Hour
of the Gun to DVD with a scaled back DVD only containing a trailer and the
full-frame version on the flip side of the disc. The anamorphic 2.35 X 1 transfer looks fair with muted colors and
a lackluster amount of detail. You can
quickly tell from the beginning that the film is going to be slightly
distracting to watch, unless you are looking at it in a tube TV, which makes it
slightly more bearable. This problem
occurs often with some of MGM’s lesser-known titles, especially older
titles. The speculation of course is
that not much money was invested in doing a proper transfer since they do not
expect to make much back on it. The
audio is sticktly Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, which can be spread further to
two-channels if your receiver is capable of doing so. Even by doing this, the film does not really have much sound
pouring out of it with mostly dialogue and a few sound effects or music. There are noticeable amounts of hiss still
on the soundtrack, which can be heard at higher volume levels.
All around this is just a totally sub-par edition that
deserves little attention unless you are a huge fan of the film. If this is your first time experiencing the
film than hopefully the quality of the disc will not keep you from enjoying the
film, but that’s a very subjective question at hand.
- Nate Goss