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Films: F is for...

4 For Texas

Fankie and Deano pal about down Galveston way, setting up a riverboat casino and copping off with Ursula Andress and Anita Ekberg into the bargain. Comedy westerns are, for some reason, very hard to get right. Perhaps because, out in the desert, a holiday atmosphere takes over and people tend to think, after they’ve got all dressed up and are lobbing their six-shooters about at The American Adventure, the on-set laughs will translate effortlessly to the screen, with no actual funny business necessary, and if it sags we can always speed up bits of film of everyone running about, can’t we? And this is pretty much what we find here. The two stars are, as ever, out to have a laugh first and make a film second. In the past they’ve gotten away with this, but not with pesky meddling Serious Director Robert Aldrich breathing down their necks. Friction ensues. Charles Bronson does various cartoony bits of black hat business. The Three Stooges, always mentioned in conjunction with this film, actually only turn up for slightly longer than they do in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World, but by then the damage is done. After two hours of this, even the most patient Rat Pack Fan will be eyeing the exit, even envying Charlie’s comedy death, impaled on the paddle wheel of the casino.

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  1. Lee James Turnock

    February 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    This turned up on Ch4 on the 31st August 1997, which as any fule kno was the day the whole country ground to a standstill over the death of Princess Diana. I’m guessing it got pretty good viewing figures on that occasion, simply because the other ‘main’ channels were dominated by rolling news.

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