Time for Dying, A (1969)

Time for Dying, A (1969)

“Guns is all I know.”

A gun-loving farm boy (Richard Lapp) hoping to become a bounty hunter helps rescue a naive young woman (Anne Randall) from work at a brothel, and ends up being married to her the next day by Judge Roy Bean (Victor Jory) — then, shortly after running into Jesse James (Audie Murphy), Lapp finds himself confronting a punk outlaw known as Billy Pimple (Bob Random).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Audie Murphy Films
  • Budd Boetticher Films
  • Newlyweds
  • Outlaws
  • Westerns

Budd Boetticher’s final fiction film (made through a production company formed with Audie Murphy before his death in a plane crash) was this disappointing western that seems better suited for television than the big screen. The storyline often aims for slapstick or lowbrow humor, as when Lapp first arrives in town to the cacophony of rowdy men catcalling and throwing hats to a stable of prostitutes:

… or when Lapp and Randall find themselves forced to marry one another in front of Jory’s irrepressibly quirky Judge Roy Bean:

… and are then doused with water as a playful prank when entering into their hotel suite as newlyweds.

Other scenes, however — particularly the final ones, when Lapp has no choice but to confront Billy Pimple — are more serious.

The tone is ultimately uneven, and isn’t helped any by Harry Betts’s often-intrusive score. A Time for Dying was unfortunately was not a worthy ending to Boetticher’s esteemed career as a director of many fine westerns; film fanatics should look to his earlier works instead.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Lucian Ballard’s cinematography

Must See?
No; you can skip this one unless you’re a Boetticher completist. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.


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