Rough Night in Jericho (1967)


(director: Arnold Laven; screenwriters: novel by Marvin H. Albert/Sydney Boehm; cinematographer: Russell Metty; editor: Ted J. Kent; music: Don Costa; cast: Dean Martin (Alex Flood), George Peppard (Dolan), Jean Simmons (Molly Lang), John McIntire (Ben Hickman), Slim Pickens (Yarbrough), Don Galloway (Jace); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Martin Rackin; Universal Pictures; 1967)

“This ugly routine Western is advertised as the kind of old-fashioned one they used to make.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This ugly routine Western is advertised as the kind of old-fashioned one they used to make. If that’s so, it’s good they stopped making them. It’s dull ho-hum fare topped with a sour performance by a miscast Dean Martin, playing the over-the-top reprehensible villain. Veteran TV director Arnold Laven (“Geronimo”/”Without Warning!”/”Down Three Dark Streets”) directs this needlessly bloody film keeping it unduly ponderous, glum and run-of-the-mill. The all too predictable screenplay is turned in by Marvin H. Albert and Sydney Boehm. Only the excellent photography by cinematographer Russell Metty is worth noting.

It has ex-deputy marshal turned professional gambler Dolan (George Peppard) and ex-marshal Ben Hickman (John McIntire) arriving in Jericho to help Molly Lang (Jean Simmons) run the stagecoach, the only business in town not controlled by Alex Flood (Dean Martin) the town’s nasty tyrannical boss who has everyone intimidated except for Molly. Dolan wants no trouble from meanie Flood and reneges on his word to work for Molly as a driver. It takes Molly getting beaten up by Yarbrough (Slim Pickens) and almost the full-length of the film, filled with Flood doing all kinds of violence in the cowardly town, before Dolan gives up his loner act and helps Molly stop Flood from taking over the stagecoach line.

Slim Pickens is unpleasant as one of Dino’s sadistic henchmen, while McIntire is around to wax poetic about the good old days. It makes for not only a rough night in Jericho, but a rough one wherever it’s seen.