Vincent Price in More Dead Than Alive (1969)
Clint Walker (TV’s Cheyenne) stars as Cain or more specifically “Killer” Cain. Amassing twelve notches on his gun by the time he was eighteen, Cain spent the next eighteen years in jail paying for his crimes. He became a model prisoner, and by the time he was released, the warden believed him to be fully rehabilitated. Unfortunately, there’s little opportunity for an infamous ex-con to get a job in the West, and he soon falls into the only job he knows, shooting. This time however, he’s not a gun for hire. Instead, he does trick shots in Dan Ruffalo’s Shooting Show. Still haunted by his past everywhere he travels, Cain can’t be with the woman he loves (Forbidden Planet’s Anne Francis), is hounded by his Shooting Show co-star Billy Valance (Paul Hampton), and constantly has to look over his shoulder knowing that the past is due to catch up with him when he least expects it.
Futureworld scribe George Schenck far outweigh it’s simple presentation.
Four of the Apocalypse, Eastwood’s Pale Rider, or Jarmusch’s Dead Man, there’s a delicate balance that needs to be struck between waxing poetic and whacking bad guys. More Dead than Alive falls on the short side of the action spectrum. With only a handful of shootings, no sex, and very little violence, I’m still a bit puzzled as to how the film garnered an ‘R’ rating, but never the less; this is where the flick really falls apart. If it were not of the actors making their characters so watchable and interesting, I’m not sure I would have made it through the film. The only other thing holding More Dead than Alive back is the ending. I don’t want to say much more, but it contradicted so much of what I had just sat watching for almost two hours.
That brings up to the end of our first new Price review for the month. Look out of a few more, and don’t forget to look back into the archives for many, many more.