Review: ‘The Shootist’

The Shootist stands as one of John Wayne's towering achievements. Don Siegel's terrific film is simply beautiful, and beautifully simple, in its quiet, elegant and sensitive telling of the last days of a dying gunfighter at the turn of the century. Wayne and Lauren Bacall are both outstanding.

The Shootist stands as one of John Wayne’s towering achievements. Don Siegel’s terrific film is simply beautiful, and beautifully simple, in its quiet, elegant and sensitive telling of the last days of a dying gunfighter at the turn of the century. Wayne and Lauren Bacall are both outstanding.

The time is 1901. Wayne a prairie-hardened gunfighter, rides into the new century where Carson City is in segue to modern civilization. Saloon shootouts still occur; Hugh O’Brian’s card dealing is still not to be challenged.

Wayne’s trip is to town doctor James Stewart, who confirms a cancer diagnosis. Atop this comes an emerging tenderness between Wayne and Bacall which is articulated in careful politeness and the artful exchange of expressions that evoke memories of great silent films.

1976: Nomination: Best Art Direction

The Shootist

Production

De Laurentiis. Director Don Siegel; Producer Mike Frankovich, William Self; Screenplay Miles Hood Swarthout, Scott Hale; Camera Bruce Surtees; Editor Douglas Stewart; Music Elmer Bernstein; Art Director Robert Boyle

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1976. Running time: 99 MIN.

With

John Wayne Lauren Bacall Ron Howard Bill McKinney James Stewart Richard Boone

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