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Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

I finally caught up with this TV Western, I believe the last of Sam Elliott’s from this period. He’s quite different in this role than he is in CONAGHER and most of his other films in the genre. Instead of playing the honorable man, he’s a bit of a scallywag, making advances on a married woman and sometimes walking the line between good and bad. It’s a refreshing change for Sam but one that isn’t supported by a great script or solid direction.

One of the biggest issues in THE QUICK AND THE DEAD are the villains. I love seeing Matt Clark, a long time character actor who has appeared in a ton of Westerns, as the lead heavy but the script doesn’t set him up to be dangerous. I told the person I was watching with that the filmmakers made a grave mistake by not having Matt kill someone early on. Because they don’t, we can never take the bad guys very seriously, especially as Sam spins them in a circle. They come off as silly and ineffective, which diminishes the tension. On the other side, some of Kate Capshaw’s actions are silly and make her a character who is hard to believe and ultimately root for. Worse is the sadly miscast Tom Conti, a good actor who has no business being in a Western. I see what they were trying to do with Conti but its misguided. Some actors don’t work in period pieces, especially Westerns.

Overall, THE QUICK AND THE DEAD is an enjoyable L’Amour adaptation that has many cracks for those who look hard at the way a story is constructed and executed.

Watched on Amazon