Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Cheyenne Social Club (1970)

Synopsis: America’s favourite old farts run beloved bordello into the ground. 
Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “With a wink, a nod and a bullet and lovely lovely Shirley Jones and Sue Ann Langdon as co-stars, The Cheyenne Social Club welcomes you to a West that’s as affable as its two stars and as spirited as its renowned producer-director: Gene Kelly.” 
What Did I Learn?: There’s no higher measure of success than to be a Republican businessman. 2) A lawyer will only tell you enough to leave you confused. 3) Trouble rides a fast horse. 4) When you spend all day on the plains, with only your horse to talk to, you do a lot of dreaming. 5) It ain’t seemly to bring up politics when you’re borrowing money. 6) When a woman’s talking to you, you can be pretty sure she thinks she’s in control. And when she’s not talking to you, you can be pretty certain you’re in control.  
Really?: 1) I have to admit that I don’t really get the friendship between John (James Stewart) and Harley (Henry Fonda); they’ve worked together for ten years, yet when John receives the initial letter, he doesn’t mention anything to his good buddy? He can’t find a private room for Harley in the bordello, and grudgingly lends him a few dollars? Meanwhile, Harley hears that John is in a fistfight, and doesn’t go to his aid? None of that sounds right. 2) Funny how the Cheyenne Social Club houses six prostitutes, but only Jenny (Jones) is given much of a personality. 3) I’m still shaking my head over this film’s truly lacklustre ending [Spoiler Alert!]… John signs the establishment over to Jenny, and then he and Harley hightail it back to Texas to avoid another gunfight. Aren’t John and Harley getting a little old to still be working as cowboys? Weren’t John and Jenny starting to fall in love? Couldn’t John have sold the club to Jenny, and then opened up a saloon in Cheyenne? 
Rating: The Cheyenne Social Club is an amiable, good-natured Stewart / Fonda buddy picture that isn’t entirely sure if it’s a comedy or a Western, so it tries to be both but doesn’t entirely succeed as either. It’s hard to dislike The Cheyenne Social Club - it’s fun to watch Stewart and Fonda bicker with each other, but the story never really goes anywhere, and I doubt that I’ll remember much of it a few months from now. 6.5/10 stars.

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