Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Must-See Movie: Support Your Local Sheriff!

Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969)
Jason McCullough (James Garner) is allegedly "on his way to Australia" when he comes to the raucous town of Calendar to do a little mining. He discovers that he needs to get a job, as things are rapidly getting more and more expensive with the gold rush. He checks the HELP WANTED postings and sees the town needs a sheriff, and the town's mayor and council eagerly hire him.

Jason soon learns why the job came so easily, as a family of outlaws named Danby seem to run the town. While in the saloon, Jason witnesses Joe Danby (Bruce Dern) gunning a man down, and as his first duty as sheriff, hires a deputy (Jack Elam) and arrests Danby. He takes the gunman to a newly refurbished jail, only to see that the bars for the cells haven't been put in yet.

This is just one subplot of this great comedy. James Garner's portrayal as calm and confident Jason is very similar to his role as TV's "Maverick," and his coolness pairs well amidst the chaos and violence surrounding him. The supporting cast of Joan Hackett, Harry Morgan, Henry Jones, and Walter Brennan makes this a western unlike any other. But Bruce Dern's portrayal as whiny and spoiled (yet dim-witted) Joe Danby, makes this movie a classic.

They tried to recreate the magic again in 1971's "Support Your Local Gunfighter," using much of the same cast and the same director, but it just doesn't add up. Not to say that it isn't funny or great to watch. After all, it's still James Garner.

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