Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972)

Synopsis: Murderous outlaw establishes police state town where every single crime is a hanging offense, and... um, he’s the hero. 

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “the tall-tale saga of a frontier legend.” 

What Did I Learn?: Justice is the handmaiden of law, and law is the handmaiden of works both ways. 

Really?: 1) See: “Synopsis.” Seriously, is Bean’s brand of justice really any better than the iron grip of Frank Gass (Roddy McDowell)? 2) The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean is by its own description a “tall tale” and isn’t meant to be taken all that seriously, but I’m pretty sure that even in 19th Century Texas, you couldn’t establish your own town, and then selectively enforce the rules of the state. Oh, and I had a bit of trouble believing Maria (Victoria Principal) would stay with him as long as she does, even though he continually professes his undying love for Lily Langtree. 

Rating: Written by John Milius, and directed by the legendary John Huston, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean is a very enjoyable farcical Western that features a number of memorable cameo performances. My only complaint would be that it tends to drag in places, and it really loses a lot of energy after Bad Bob (Stacey Keach) bites the dust somewhere in the second act. 7.5/10 stars.

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