Gunfight At Dodge City Review

Optimum offer us another in their regular series of Western releases.

The latest in Optimum’s series of Westerns, Gunfight At Dodge City is a pretty minor item but contains a number of points of interest. Principal amongst these is Joel McCrea, one of the great Hollywood stars who was on the verge of retiring by the time this movie was made in 1959. McCrea plays Bat Masterson, a real-life Western hero who was famous as a gunfighter, a lawman and, in the latter years of his life, a journalist. In this film, however, his legend serves simply to ignite opposition to his presence in Dodge City where he has been, against his will, installed as Sheriff. He encounters all manner of problems from corrupt politicians to his old outlaw buddies and everything culminates in a gunfight which, despite the title, actually takes place in Hays City.

The film, very much a B-movie with some unusually high production values, is directed by Joseph M. Newman, a veteran whose career peaked with the classic SF favourite This Island Earth. He does a very competent job and is greatly assisted by superb Cinemascope photography from Carl Guthrie and a pounding music score by Hans Salter. The fast pace keeps interest high and there’s a fine cast, amongst whom Julie Adams and John McIntire stand out.

Optimum’s DVD is presented in anamorphic widescreen at a ratio of 2.35:1. The transfer comes from a good print and is highlighted by excellent colours. The mono soundtrack is absolutely fine. There are no extras.

Mike Sutton

Updated: Jul 07, 2009

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