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4 for Texas

With the exception of Some Came Running, watching Deano and Old Blue Eyes act in a movie together is like waiting outside a great bar while your friends are inside. Sure, you know that they're having fun — but what good is that for you? 4 for Texas (1963) may be marginally better than Ocean's 11, but only because there is more to look at than just Rat Pack swagger. Frank Sinatra stars as Zachariah Thomas, a gunslinger who has borrowed $100,000 from the railroad to open a riverboat casino. While carting it back to Galveston, Texas, a gang of desperados — led by the vicious Matson (Charles Bronson) — chases after him, and though Zack holds them off, he drops his guard long enough for Joe Jarrett (Dean Martin) to wrangle up the cash. Jarrett gives some of the money to his orphanage, but he comes to Galveston without knowing that Zach is its sheriff. Jarret puts the money in the town bank, and Zach is stuck knowing it might take years to get hold of the money if Jarrett dies, meaning he can't close a deal for a riverboat with Max (Ursula Andress). Directed by Robert Aldrich (Kiss Me Deadly, The Dirty Dozen) 4 for Texas has some good fight scenes (though about one too many "falling off a balcony" stunts), and the opening stagecoach ride — where both Jarret and Thomas work together to fight off Matson — is promising. But the script pits Sinatra against Martin for the majority of the running time, delaying their inevitable partnership for way too long. Since Sinatra and Martin essentially play themselves, it's hard to be engrossed by the film — especially when it stops in the middle for The Three Stooges to do a routine. Bonus points for straight male viewers: Sinatra is doted on by a squadron of French maids, and Andress wears clothes skimpier than her famous white bathing suit in Dr. No. Warner's DVD presents the film in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and DD 1.0 audio. Theatrical trailer, behind-the-scenes featurette, cast and crew bios. Snap-case.

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