A Routine Night in Jericho
Alex Flood (Dean Martin) is an ex-law man turned bad man who after arriving in the town of Jericho set about owning everything from businesses to ranches, forcing people to sell up with his gang of heavies even though he is happy to do the dirty work himself. The one business he doesn't have is the stagecoach owned by Molly Lang (Jean Simmons) who despite once having a thing for Alex refuses to sell up to him. When former marshal Dolan (George Peppard) arrives in town, having bought into Molly's business, she asks him to put an end to Flood's tyrannical ways but despite feeling that he should knows the odds are against him and doesn't want to get involved. That is until Flood attacks Molly and incensed by his despicable actions rallies a few good men, not afraid to take the fight to Flood and sets about bringing him down.
How many times in your life did you see Dean Martin play a bad guy? Whilst I can think of some rogues and shifty characters the only movie I know that he played an all out bad guy is "Rough Night in Jericho" and whilst Martin is not the greatest bad guy the element of good guy Dean playing bad guy Flood makes it interesting especially as he gives the character of Alex Flood some typical Dean martin charm and charisma. In fact if it wasn't for the conflict between actor and character "Rough Night in Jericho" would be a completely forgettable western.
The trouble with "Rough Night in Jericho" is that all it offers up is a story as old as cinema itself as we have the corrupt bad man who bosses the town and the arrival of the good guy who makes a stand. I've watched that theme in westerns from the early 30s right through to more recent times and whilst it is an entertaining theme it surely makes "Rough Night in Jericho" and many a western predictable at best. As such it doesn't take a genius to predict that Dolan will end up falling for Molly and will make a stand which will inevitably lead to some sort of climatic showdown between Dolan and Flood. But that is all it is with some nice action, and the occasional scene of brutality but nothing which makes it more memorable than any other western.
Aside from the usp of Dean Martin playing a bad guy the rest of the cast deliver the sort of typical performance you will see in so many other westerns. As such Jean Simmons is attractive and strong as Molly who makes a stand against Flood whilst George Peppard is handsome and an all round good guy. Throw in western stalwarts Slim Pickens and John McIntire and it just adds to that western familiarity.
What this all boils down to is that "Rough Night in Jericho" is just another western which reworks an old western favourite but with some different actors involved. If you like westerns it is entertaining enough but the only thing which is different to this is the casting of Dean Martin in a bad guy role.