The Shootist ★★★

Wayne’s last draw is a rather pedestrian effort but he’s at his best here, time and experience - 50 years of it before the cameras - serving him well. You wish he could go on in this role; he embodies it so easily and fills it like a six-shooter that fits perfectly in its holster. But it was the end of an era not only for Wayne’s cinematic cowboy, but for westerns like The Shootist that owe a debt to 6 decades of similar storytelling in the genre, even though directors like Siegel and Hawks were trying to keep up with the times by injecting more veristic violence into their films. Here, though, the final showdown seems to come out of nowhere in particular, and the staging of the gunplay is routine. An astonishingly aged-looking Lauren Bacall plays opposite Wayne, looking well beyond her 51 years.