Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Seargent's 3 (1962)

Meandering, mediocre Rat Pack western made tolerable only through the professionalism of director John Sturges and the sheer watchability of the Pack. The plot is nonexistent for most of the film, and just involves western cliches until the last half hour, where an imminent "Indian" invasion takes top priority. The production is obviously, more so than even Robin and the 7 Hoods, an excuse to get the crew on screen, and in that sense, it works; Frank is the stalwart leader, Dino is the amiable drunken badass, Peter Lawford is the stubborn educated type, and Joey Bishop is the comic doofus. Only Sammy Davis, Jr. gets shafted, with his shuckin' n' jivin' antics offending from his first minute on screen. The racism of the piece extends to its treatment of the Native Americans, which is stereotypical of American westerns of the time; it was two years before A Fistful of Dollars would make all these movies look like the racist pieces of shit that they were. However, aside from the racism, John Sturges does a surprisingly strong job with the material given, and creates a mythic backdrop for the Pack that extends beyond obvious sets and props. Some of the shots were among the most impressive of any of the Rat Pack films, and, at select moments, reached the epic scope of the infinitely superior Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. But alas, the movie does not create the levels of tension, humor, or drama to warrant a wholehearted recommendation, and without the effortless charm of the Chairman and his boys, the film would be a true bore.

Slightly Recommended to diehard Rat Pack and John Sturges fans. I wasn't expecting much, and I got what I expected; definitely inferior to Ocean's 11, if not also Robin and the 7 Hoods.

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