Good day for a new western on KG. It's been some time since I revisited the good Old West. Fred Mc Murray stars, not my favorite actor and not my favorite western hero but he's quite good there : one of his good days, I guess. It is directed by B director Nathan Juran (one of Audie Murphy's yes men) and features two soon to be stars of tv series : Robert Vaughn ("The man from UNCLE") and James Drury ("The Virginian"). Wishing you all a good day... Enjoy !
Directed by Nathan H. Juran
Produced by Charles H. Schneer, Columbia
Written by Daniel B. Ullman, Maurice Zimm
From a story by John Reese
Cinematography Henry Freulich
Editing by Jerome Thoms
Release date(s) 1958
Fred MacMurray ... Marshal Ben Cutler
Margaret Hayes ... Ruth Granger (as Maggie Hayes)
Robert Vaughn ... Eddie 'The Kid' Campbell
Joan Blackman ... Laurie Cutler
James Drury ... Paul Ridgely
Wendell Holmes ... Tallant Joslin, Prosecutor
Edmon Ryan ... William P. Selby, Attorney
Stacy Harris ... Coley
Kathryn Card ... Mrs. Molly Cain
Emile Meyer ... Marshal Hiram Cain
Bing Russell ... George Fletcher
Russell Thorson ... Harry Landers
Denver Pyle ... Deputy Ed Moore
Marshal Ben Cutler (MacMurray) finds unexpectedly opposition from the townspeople when he captures killer Eddie Campbell (Vaughn). The charismatic outlaw gains their sympathy and Cutler is going to have trouble when Campbell is sentenced to hang.
It's hard to say enough good things about this script. "Good Day For a Hanging" as about a man who tries to warn a town that makes him sheriff when their sheriff is killed during a robbery that if he starts to do his job he will see it through. He was once a robber with the same gang years since, and the sheriff helped him to go straight. They do not believe him; even his daughter turns against him to side with her ex-boy friend, who swears he innocent but was identified by the man as a murderer whose deed was seen with his own eyes.
The young man is ordered hanged, and the sheriff stands his grounds, and is vindicated. To this very strong storyline are added many townspeople on both sides of the argument, mostly against the sheriff, played with honesty by Fred MacMurray. The leader of his opponents is played by Edmon Ryan, the sheriff's wife played by fine actress Maggie Hayes and the boy played by Robert Vaughn. The production values are the best of MacMarray's three major westerns, with script by Daniel Ullman, John Reese and Maurice Zimm, taut direction by the great Nathan Juran and cinematography b y Henry Freulich which looks very well.
Among the others in the large cast are many familiar actors of quality, including Denver Pyle, Joan Blackman, Kathryn Card, Wendell Homes, Stacey Harris, James Drury, Bing Russell, Russell Thorsen and Howard McNear. There is one good scene after another in this remarkably dramatic and entertaining script; MacMurray is all right but the part could have benefited from a performance by someone with a stronger theatrically-trained voice. The slow build of resentment against the sheriff whose stubbornness may bring the gang down on the town again sets up a grand climactic confrontation and a satisfying ending, vindicating the Sheriff's judgment. A nearly-great
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