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Number: TWILIGHT297-BR

Starring:  Albert Salmi, Robert Duvall, Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Sheree North, Lee J. Cobb, Joseph Wiseman
Directed By:  Michael Winner
Composed By:  Jerry Fielding

“Intriguing thought-Western…compelling story…[Robert] Ryan gives one of his finest performances.”
– Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide

“The picture is long on sting, as sharply directed by England’s Michael Winner and cynically turned by the writer, Gerald Wilson. The acting is solid, straight down the line.”
– Howard Thompson, The New York Times

Directed by Michael Winner and written by Gerald Wilson, Lawman (1971) offers a few savvy tweaks on a classic Western tale: a dogged sheriff (the great Burt Lancaster) is determined to bring to justice a rancher (Lee J. Cobb) and his hands who accidentally killed an old man during a drunken spree. The incomparable Robert Ryan co-stars along with Robert Duvall and Sheree North; the film is further distinguished by a score from the one and only Jerry Fielding (The Wild Bunch).

VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
1971 / Color
RATED R Violent Content

Special Features: Isolated Music Track / Original Theatrical Trailer

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on October 23, 2017 5:09 PM
Burt Lancaster was beyond his peak years in the seventies. Nearing 60 and coming off of the success of AIRPORT this movie was released to little fanfare or box office success. The western genre hadn’t quite died but too was on its last leg. Gone were the days of white and black hats replaced by pondering over the justification of violent justice.

The film opens with a group of cattlemen celebrating the end of their drive in the usual fashion with plenty of drink, women and carousing ending with guns being shot off randomly while in the town of Bannock. Unfortunately those gunshots kill an elderly man in the city. Rather than stay around to answer for this they head home in the hopes all will be forgotten.

That isn’t the case though when Marshall Jered Maddox (Lancaster) returns and then sets out to arrest the men responsible. Arriving in the town of Sabbath with one of the men he caught along the way dead and strapped on his horse, he checks in with local Marshall Ryan Cotton (Robert Ryan). Cotton tells him the odds are against him as the town is basically owned by Vincent Bronson (Lee J. Cobb), a wealthy land owner who is used to having his way.

Both men have a history together as renowned lawmen. While Maddox carried on and developed a name for himself Cotton settled for one shining moment and has coasted by ever since, satisfied to be a paid man on Bronson’s payroll.

Bronson is willing to admit some wrongdoing as well as to pay off the family of the man shot and killed. But Maddox isn’t interested in deals or money, only in justice and performing the job he was hired to do. Cotton was right in his appraisal of things as the townspeople stand against Maddox. The man he killed and brought back was family to a store keeper who holds no love for the lawman.

Bronson sends in a contingent to try and find a compromise led by longtime friend Harvey (Albert Salmi). But Harvey, filled with the idea that he is untouchable in this town, instead confronts Maddox only to be shot. With no likelihood of a mutual agreement Bronson now sets out to take down Maddox. The problem is he may have finally come up against a man not willing to go down as easy as all others.

The movie depicts Maddox as a gunman turned lawman whose only way of dealing with things is straight down the line. Break the law, pay the price. If you refuse to go peacefully he has no issue killing you and taking your body in. The pay is low, the odds are against you and the support is minor when there. But it is what he knows.

Along the way the possibility of something better is waved in front of him, a woman he once knew (Sheree North) whose husband is among those he’s seeking. The chance to walk away from it all, to reunite with her and go somewhere else to start fresh. But that would entail walking away from a career he’s worked too long at to simply abandon.

Does this make him a bad man in the role of a solid citizen or a solid citizen forced into a career that forces him to do bad things? The decision is left in the hands of the viewer to decide by the end of the film. Guns will blaze, dust will fly and bodies will fall before that end in typical western fashion. The movie is well made and entertaining enough without the concepts getting in the way of the standard fare. All involved turn in great performances and director Michael Winner turns in another great film to enjoy.
Twilight Time is offering this movie in a clean and clear presentation with nothing much in the way of extras. Those include an isolated music track and the original theatrical trailer. Fans of westerns and of Lancaster will want to make a point of picking this up right away though as the release is set for just 3,000 copies like most Twilight Time offerings.

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