DANGEROUS DAYS OF KIOWA JONES, THE (TV MOVIE) (director: Alex March; screenwriters: from the novel by Clifton Adams/Frank Fenton/Robert E. Thompson; cinematographer: Ellsworth Fredericks; editor: John McSweeney; music: Samuel Matlovsky; cast: Sal Mineo (Bobby Jack Wilkes), Robert Horton (Kiowa Jones), Diane Baker (Amelia Rathmore), Gary Merrill (Marshal Sam Duncan), Nehemiah Persoff (Skoda), Robert H. Harris (Dobie, Hangman), Dean Stanton (Jelly), Lonny Chapman (Roy), Zalman King (Jesse), Val Avery (Morgan), Royal Dano (Otto); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: David Karr/Max E. Youngstein; MGM; 1966)
“Dreadful TV movie Western.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Dreadful TV movie Western directed without passion by Alex March (“The Amazing Captain Nemo”/”The Big Bounce”/”Paper Lion”).It’s based on the novel by Clifton Adams and is written by Frank Fenton and Robert E. Thompson.
On the western prairie, cowboy drifter Kiowa Jones (Robert Horton) stumbles upon a dying marshal (Gary Merrill), from the pox, and two handcuffed prisoners, the mad dog Billy the Kid wannabe serial killer of 20, Bobby Jack Wilkes ( Sal Mineo), and the gypsy tarot card fortune teller Skoda (Nehemiah Persoff), the killer of his young wife because he loved her. The marshal deputizes Kiowa and orders him to bring the prisoners to Fort Smith to be hanged, even if he dies. Kiowa shows no interest in the $1,000 reward for Wilkes and no interest when Wilkes offers $2,000 to set him free. When the marshal dies the reluctant cowboy keeps his promise, but runs into trouble from other bounty hunters who try to kill him to get the reward money from the killer. Along by wagon comes gritty spinster Amelia Rathmore (Diane Baker), on her way to teach Indians, who saves Kiowa from the attackers and gets roped into helping the hunky moronic but straight-shooting aimless cowboy bring his prisoners to justice.
The dull pic drags on seemingly forever, as it keeps tacking on difficulties in keeping Wilkes alive as a prisoner. The predictable romance comes to fruition in the long overdue third act. During the film’s many snooze-inducing moments, we can count on Sal Mineo to laugh insanely and thereby give us a wake-up call.
REVIEWED ON 4/22/2012 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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