Review: ‘Welcome to Hard Times’

Welcome to Hard Times is more than an oater title; it is a pretty fair evaluation of this production. Burt Kennedy's direction is as inept as his script, an adaptation of E.L. Doctorow's novel about sadistic tough Aldo Ray who burns down a western town. Cowardly (or is he?) mayor Henry Fonda inspires town to rebuild.

Welcome to Hard Times is more than an oater title; it is a pretty fair evaluation of this production. Burt Kennedy’s direction is as inept as his script, an adaptation of E.L. Doctorow’s novel about sadistic tough Aldo Ray who burns down a western town. Cowardly (or is he?) mayor Henry Fonda inspires town to rebuild.

Janice Rule is unsatisfactory as the woman who taunts Fonda for a whole year, then cues a bloody climax. She plays it with an Irish accent, effect being a sort of Method school version of Maureen O’Hara.

Keenan Wynn, with wife Janis Paige and three saloon babes, offer some low comedy relief. Edgar Buchanan comes off best as a territorial officer. Presence of many pro names – Lon Chaney, Elisha Cook, Paul Fix, etc – only serves to emphasize the lack of depth and perception in script and direction.

Welcome to Hard Times

Production

M-G-M. Director Burt Kennedy; Producer Max E. Youngstein, David Karr; Screenplay Burt Kennedy; Camera Harry Stradling Jr; Editor Aaron Stell; Music Harry Sukman; Art Director George W. Davis, Carl Anderson

Crew

(Color) Extract of a review from 1967. Running time: 103 MIN.

With

Henry Fonda Janice Rule Keenan Wynn Janis Paige Warren Oates Fay Spain
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