Rough Night in Jericho (1967, Arnold Laven) [size=12pt]ROUGH NIGHT IN JERICHO[/size] (1967, Arnold Laven)

Bizarre western, if only for casting good old Dean Martin as a villain without any redeeming qualities. But there’s more: the story about (the lack of) law and order in a small western town, sounds like a fifties western, but the level of violence is more in accordance with the early seventies. Rough Night in Jericho is brutally violent, and the violence is bloody and gory. And all this for a film predating Bonnie an Clyde and The Wild Bunch, the two movies usually held responsible for the gory killings that would deluge action movies (and especially westerns) in the late sixties, early seventies. In fact there’s a large action sequence towards the end, with Martin’s men trapped in a town street by the townspeople waiting for them on the rooftops, that will remind many of us of the opening massacre of The Wild Bunch. I’m quite sure Peckinpah saw it and was inspired by it. The two men, Laven and Peckinpah, were old acquaintances: Laven had been one of the producers of the TV-series The Rifleman, and had also directed the equally violent (but less gory) The Glory Guys, scripted by Peckinpah.

Don’t get over-exited, Rough Night in Jericho is not a great movie. It’s watchable, especially if you like your westerns gritty and violent, but Dino simply is not the right man to play a ruthless villain and too many town scenes are shot in the studio, giving the film a sort of cheap ‘Bonanza look’ (or Rifleman look). The story is rather basic: Town boss Martin is determined to have total control over the town, and therefore wants to own at least 51% of Jean Simmons stagecoach line, but Simmons refuses. Hell breaks loose with the arrival of two men: Marshall John McIntire (called to town by Simmons) and former lawman turned gambler George Peppard.

Some have suggested it was influenced by spaghetti westerns. It seems a bit early (A Fistful of Dollars was released in ’66 in the US as far as I know), and spaghettis were not known for gory tendencies, but Dino’s town bully does behave more like a mafia boss than a regular western heavy.

Was ROUGH NIGHT IN JERICHO really gory? Or only a bit bloody here and there?
I don’t remember much violence in this one. Only a bit more violence than usual in 1966, but less than in Bonny and Clyde.

Film itself is, yes not exciting, only ok. 5/10

It is quite bloody (a person shot right in the face, lots of squibs used, etc.). I guess many TV versions were cut. What lacks it Peckinpah’s excessive blood-letting, with real fountains of blood. (By the way, haven’t seen it in a while, but is Bonnie & Clyde that violent, except for the ending, this slowmo sequence of the two being shot to pieces?)

The two men knew each other very well, according to Webble it was Laven who asked Peckinpah to write a script for (what eventually would become) The Glory Guns. I checked a few things, but Peckinpah wasn’t involved in the making of this movie, so it seems.

For me it’s a 6 or a 6,5 out of 10. Not great, but not bad either. I think Dino would have been better in the Peppard role. He was a good villain in Showdown (1973), next to Rock Hudson, but one of of the more charming kind.

Last version I saw is supposed to be uncut. Several years ago.

Bonny and Clyde had some more violent scenes, and made audience feel the violence.
The script to the glory Guys was an older one which Peckinpah was forced to sell after the Dundee debacle. Probably written in the late 50s.
But he knew Laven from his TV times.

Recently viewed this one. Yes different role for Martin, but still the same boy like smile. So at times hard for me take his bad character seriously. Did not notice much violence, and film was pretty average. Was expecting better.

Didn’t really care much for this one, 5/10.