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Five Card Stud (1968)
 
Coming out in the late, hip Sixties, Five Card Stud looks to have been a last ditch attempt to capitalize on the waning popularity of the western. To further bolster their chances of success, Dean Martin of The Rat Pack fame was culled to be the lead cowboy in the film. This is not in any way a Western Movie.

This is going to happen quickly, so don't blink because Five Card Stud is a movie that can be quickly and easily summarized. Van Morgan (Dean Martin) is perhaps the best gambler in the West; he's definitely the best gambler in the town of Rincon. One night, Van and six locals are playing some five card stud when it is discovered that the newcomer in the game is cheating. Everyone is as mad as a rattler and soon a hanging party is formed. Van tries to stop the execution but is knocked out by Nick Evers (Roddy McDowell), a player at the game and leader of this lynch mob. When Van regains consciousness, he sadly realizes that he failed to prevent the murder of the cheater. Being uncomfortable with staying in Rincon, he leaves for Denver to try his gambling skills in the big city.

Things happen quickly in Rincon. No sooner has Van left when gold is discovered in them nearby hills, and with gold comes a flock of newcomers to town including Reverend Jonathon Rudd (Robert Mitchum)
 
The very next day, two more men and found murdered. The sheriff is at a loss and the residents are getting afraid. News of the murders makes its way to the Denver newspaper where Van reads the story. He realizes that the two dead men were members of that fateful lynch mob. Knowing he could be a target, he decides to venture back to Rincon because it's better to confront danger head on. Van's instincts are right for he quick figures out that someone is out for revenge as, one by one, members of the hanging party are being killed. Who is the murderer? Why is he/she killing the card players? Will Van be killed or will he find the killer? Will Van find true love in Rincon? Will Roddy do any monkey impressions? Will Dean break out into song?
 
This movie has all your favorite cowboy clichés: the telegraphed punches, the swagger, the poker games, the piano in the bar, and the fire and brimstone sermon by the preacher.

IBecause of the layer of comedy in this film, I recommend Five Card Stud. There isn't much of a mystery, but you'll enjoy the cheap jabs made at Dean's expense and his light-footed interaction with the ladies. The gunfights aren't too bad either; and, if I recall, something blows up quite nicely too. A nice atypical Western for those of you who enjoy this genre.
Marks : 7/10
Director Henry Hathaway Dean Martin Van Morgan
Writing Ray Gaulden Robert Mitchum The Rev. Jonathan Rudd
Cinematography Daniel L. Fapp Inger Stevens Lily Langford
 
Top Quote From This Movie
"You saved my life. I owe you so name it."
"Come to sermons for the next month."
"That's a steep price for just my life."
 
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