Directed By: Harry Keller
Starring: Fred MacMurray, Dorothy Malone, John Gavin, John Larch
Disclaimer: Kino Studio Classics has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections.
Harry Keller had a pretty interesting career having edited more high profile movies then he did sitting in the directors chair. Here is takes on a western with Fred MacMurray who had made over a dozen films in the genre in his career. A group of outlaws head to Mexico but stop off at a ghost town called Quantez to lay low whilst their horses recover and they can rest for the night. Meanwhile, someone is a traitor among them in this slightly off-western.
Director Harry Keller does a good job at establishing a lot of tension and eeriness when the men enter the titular town of Quantez. Shots of the ghost town at night only help heighten the mystery and suspense. I also like how the town is at times bathed in this weird blue glow. Screenwriter R. Wright Campbell who also wrote another Fred MacMurray western Gun for a Coward 1956 (Review HERE as part of the Western II Collection) does an interesting job at crafting a pretty off-kilter western-drama which also doubles as a at times paranoid and claustrophobic affair once the men enter the empty town. I will say that things tend to get repetitive and there is some dull moments that make the movie feel tedious. The movie also feels weirdly stagey as most of the action takes place in one room or in a backlot that doubles as the outside of the town.
This lull in the action is a shame because it kills any of the momentum Keller crafts. MacMurray is as always a likeable suave and handsome actor who, along with Larch feels like they carry the film. MacMurray has a gruff world weariness but also a sweetness that always comes through. John Larch does a good job at a rather loathsome, abusive outlaw. Larch best known for his later films like Dirty Harry (1971) and Play Misty for Me (1971) is pretty good in the role and I've always had a soft-spot for the character actor. John Gavin is in contrast is rather wooden in his performance, especially when next to Larch and MacMurray. Dorothy Malone who oddly was probably best remembered for her final role in Basic Instinct (1992) does a stellar job in a very thanklessly written role.
Quantez is a film that had some interesting things going for it but ultimately I found that the movie drags which really hurts any of the tension and mystery Keller worked hard to build. I don't mind a slower paced film but a frankly felt bored-which is the ultimate sin for a film.
Picture: Quantez looks pretty good on 1080p. The film takes place largely at night and this is really where this upgraded transfer shines. The film retains a lot of clarity and has very little in the way of blurring or artifacts in the print. Even the grain levels are kept to a minimum.
Sound: Quantez has a 2.0 track. Dialogue, sound design and score comes through nicely. No unwanted background hiss or drop out that I could detect.
Extras: Extras include a feature length commentary by historian