Invitation to a Gunfighter
Now as much as I enjoy the pleasure of your company, Ms Adams (Janice Rule), I can't help but notice that you seem to have something plaguing your mind.
But what could this possibly be, fair lady? Could your concern be directed towards your ailing husband, Crane Adams (Clifford David)? Largely due to his current drunken state! Or then again could your concern be related to what Sam Brewster (Pat Hingle) has hired me to do as soon as I came into town? Specifically, kill Matt Weaver (George Segal), because he murdered a man after finding out his property was stolen from under his own nose!
Ah-ha! I'm right, aren't I, Ruth? I can see it in your eyes. You have feelings for Matt, don't you? Special feelings. And I presume you want me to relinquish my bounty for the sake of truth, justice, and all of that cr*p.
Well, I suppose to some extent I can see where you're coming from, my dear. Like you, I'm also a person who has a very conflicted temperament. Whilst one part of me wants to shoot people, get drunk, and gamble with cards. Another part of me really admires what you're trying to accomplish. And that's most probably why what next transpires all kicks off when you say to me, 'Jules (Yul Brynner)! Please try to look after yourself'. As a gunfighter suddenly changes his spots - a local villain scrambles to join the dots - a town gets smashed up by a sullen drunk - and at the end of the day, some justice is shown in spite of the junk.
Now if you're one of those people who enjoys a good solid western jam packed with emotion, action, and suspense, then boy-oh-boy, 'Invitation to a Gunfighter' is surely a film for you.
Also, something else about this great film I best mention is how I thought Yul's performance -- which was amazing by the way -- reminded me of a number of other notable performances throughout cinematic history. In my eyes one part of him came across very regal and precise in statue, just like Lee Van Cleef did in 'For A Few Dollars More'. Another part of him felt very mysterious and spiteful in tone, similar to Clint Eastwood's role in 'High Plains Drifter'. And finally there was yet another part of his persona which was very much like Yul himself -- stoic, brave, and very physically acrobatic on his feet.
Now in addition to these positive attributes I would also like to applaud the very humble message that this movie tries to convey. And no, it wasn't one of those clichéd messages about the solemn path of a lone bounty hunter -- even though that was tucked away in there somewhere as well. The message I'm refereeing to is the one concerning the slave trade, folks, and how it wasn't until people of note took a stand against this racial confinement that it was finally abolished.
Overall I'd say 'Invitation to a Gunfighter' was a way above average western for its time. The story-line was an emotional one in temperament. The actors did a pretty good job of juggling the plot. And all in all -- yeah -- good job -- and I can't wait to see what other western movie I have in store next.
THE RATING: A