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The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean Reviews

A rambling revisionist western whose episodic nature was only marginally successful and which didn't come close to BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID on any level. Newman is a self-proclaimed judge in the tiny, West Texas town of Vinegaroon. He's a sot with megalomanic tendencies with whom no one wishes to associate when he rides into the small burg and draws a moustache on his own Wanted poster. As a matter of fact, the townspeople tie him to the back of a horse that drags him out to the middle of the Badlands, where he is saved by a young Mexican girl, Principal. He returns to the saloon and kills everyone there, sets himself up as the only real man in town, and renames the place "Langtry" in honor of the legendary Lily. The town prospers as Newman robs or hangs anyone who passes through. Newman's world begins to disintegrate when Principal dies and his fellow townsfolk start to turn on him. One after another the deaths occur--and the cameo appearances, in which actors waltz into town, get killed, or waltz out, conveying little sense of who they are or why they are in this movie. Newman departs and then returns to murder the people who took the town away from him. A few of the characters talk directly to the camera, as though this were a documentary, and offer their remembrances of Newman, moments that are totallyout of place in the movie as a whole. The picture ends as Gardner, playing Langtry, arrives to see the town named after her. This $4 million production is not a tribute but a travesty of the Old West. It begins by depicting the last days of the horse era. Then, while Newman is gone for several years, it tries to depict the start of the automobile age. Newman dies in a hail of gunfire (and none too soon), shouting "For Texas and for Miss Lily." The film is surrealistic, sometimes funny, sometimes violent, and most of all confused. Huston plays Grizzly Adams, and Keach almost steals the show in the weird role of a man who drinks hot coffee from the pot and eats raw onion when he orders an entire horse roasted as his dinner. The song "Marmalade, Molasses and Honey" was nominated for an Oscar but lost out to "The Morning After" from THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE. In another surprise, Newman warbles "The Yellow Rose of Texas" to Gardner.