UPDATE 6/1/2015: For some reason, Letterboxd has removed their page for a 1974 TV movie adaptation of Dracula. Here's the…
4 for Texas
The far out story of the far west
Frank Sinatra plays a tough guy who hooks up with fellow rat packer Dean Martin to open a casino in this western.
A rat pack western that crumbles under its own fragile existence, failing to elicit any real laughs or thrills. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin are cowboys in South Texas playing games with a town’s corrupt banker. As a Technicolor effort, “Four For Texas” is surprisingly flat and even the sexy goodness of Ursula Andress can’t elevate the film. And I’ve said it before, but any film that tries to locate its setting in Texas amongst tall, rolling mountains automatically loses points with me.
as written for my retrospective of Robert Aldrich on www.itsamadmadblog2.blogspot.com
There doesn't seem to be a lot of Texas in "4 for Texas", especially toward the beginning with it's Utah-esque mountain range.
Any charm the film has is from the great chemistry between Sinatra and Martin, which is always fun.
Anita Ekberg's heaving chest and Ursula Andress' pure smoldering hottness make the film truly enjoyable for all men. There's even a dead ringer for Marilyn Monroe that the movie keeps cutting back to. She has to be the most glamorized extra in film history.
Mostly, after the first 80 minutes, which is fun, everything starts to drag terribly, at the very least it wasn't a musical. There is a lot of agonizingly bad jokes and a dumb mass brawl.
I love westerns for their common themes of courage, freedom and other American values. But there is another side to the 1800s West, and that’s the one portrayed in 4 for Texas. It’s the drinking, gambling, card-dealing side. And despite the fact that it’s directly stated who the good guys and the bad guys are, I think everyone in the whole movie gets their share of misdeeds.
On the one hand, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin are a lot of fun together. They work together very well, and the film is made for them. There are also some excellently-choreographed stunts that are great to see from this time period.
But on the other hand, 4 for Texas is a muddy…
4 for Texas starts off promising enough with a wacky stagecoach chase sequence, bullets flying, $100,000 at stake, and Frank Sinatra’s Zack Thomas and Dean Martin’s Joe Jarrett being smug and funny trying to outwit each other for the money. Their comic rivalry is one of the strengths of the film but ultimately it doesn’t elevate the plot above forgettable backdrop.
In Galveston, Joe deposits the money in a bank led by a crooked banker who from what I gather, is working with Zack who wants to be a gambling king of some sort. Meanwhile, Charles Bronson is running around shooting at people. Joe decides to open a riverboat casino with a chick who doesn’t want to be 50/50 partners…
The real problem with this movie is that it's too long. Since it's too long, it seems boring. Had this been condensed into a cool 90 minutes they would have had a zippy, funny, entertaining, cool in that Ratpack-way western.
Yeah, most of the jokes rely on the women being sexy and extremely horny and the men being sexist. That's sort of what you expect from an early 60's movie. Especially one with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra as the stars. You watch Mad Men, you're ok with it.
Most of the movie is centered in sound-stages and the back lot. It feels very enclosed and this helps add to the boring parts. But hey, the guys needed places to drink, not scenery to look at. The scenery really is the gorgeous women.
Surprising to see such a lazy, unambitious film from Robert Aldrich. An opening stagecoach robbery in the desert promises a riff on his earlier VERA CRUZ, but with the incongruously East Coast Martin and Sinatra in the Lancaster and Gary Cooper roles. Most of the remaining movie, however, refuses to budge from a backlot Western saloon and riverboat and coasts on smug, sexist Rat Pack attitude.
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