DVD - 2009
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One of the final cycle of classical westerns of the mid to late Fifties which culminated in 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance'. McCrea plays the legendary Wyatt Earp whose reluctant acceptance of the role of town marshal brings him into conflict with cattle interests and the town's businessmen.


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Dec 14, 2020

Wichita is interesting in many ways, but most of those ways aren't relevant to ordinary movie viewers. It is formally rigorous to a T. The widescreen is used as a stable frame for dramatic and pictorial composition. The camera is moved very conservatively, although the editing does permit for some speed and less-than-square angles of regard, most memorably at the end when the hero and deputy hero--Wyatt Earp (Joel McCrea) and Bat Masterson (Keith Larsen) dispatch the head baddies,played unremarkably by Lloyd Bridges and Edgar Buchanan. It takes a while to realize that close-ups are scarcer than hen's teeth, and on an ordinary TV screen that means that, given the ultrawide image (Cinemascope), no one's face is readable. That's a drawback for getting into the action because director Tourneur, who really must be commended for formal command, has the dialogue delivered laconically to the point of sotto voce, even when it's spoken loud. Disappointment at the lack of excitement in a supposedly action genre piece is understandable, and perhaps greater appreciation will arrive only after reading critic Chris Fujiwara's chapter on Wichita in Jacques Tourneur: The Cinema of Nightfall (1998). Fujiwara opens up a movie that superficially is the epitome of tight-lipped. --Ray Olson

Jul 14, 2012

Wichita is a greatly overlooked Cowboy flick from 1955.... Set in the year 1874, Wichita's rough and rugged story concerns real-life character, Wyatt Earp. It's all about how and why he became a temporary Marshal of the wild, lawless, cattle-town known as Wichita.... Even though Wyatt Earp really did become Wichita's Marshal for a short spell, this film's story is far from being historically accurate. But, regardless of this, I enjoyed this Cowboy picture immensely.... Wichita contains one of the best surprise twists in its story of any Western that I've seen in a long time.


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Jul 14, 2012

Violence: Lots of gun play and shoot-outs.


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