Showdown (1963) starring Audie Murphy, Kathleen Crowley, Charles Drake, Harold J. Stone, Skip Homeier, L.Q. Jones, Strother Martin directed by R.G. Springsteen Movie Review

Showdown (1963)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Audie Murphy in Showdown (1963)

Murphy's Showdown with the Producer

In the Mexican town of Adone where criminals get chained to a post in the centre of town, friends Chris Foster (Audie Murphy) and Bert Pickett (Charles Drake) find themselves also chained to the post after a drunken fight. But they also find themselves free when Lavalle (Harold J. Stone), an outlaw also chained up, breaks free. Whilst Chris and Bert try to go their own way end up caught by Lavalle and his gang and are held hostage. Things get complicated when Lavalle sends Bert into town to covert some stolen securities only to return empty having handed the money over to Estelle (Kathleen Crowley), the woman he had done wrong by due to his gambling. Angered, Lavalle sends Chris back whilst keeping Bert hostage ordering him to get the money from Estelle.

"Showdown" reeks of a movie made on a limited budget and rushed out with little attention to the story which is kind of backed up when you learn that Audie Murphy was furious that this 1960s western was to be shot in black & white to save money. It makes you wonder what would have been if "Showdown" had received a bigger budget as it certainly is a movie with some intriguing ideas such as the town jail being a pole in the centre of town where trouble makers are shackled.

Harold J. Stone in Showdown (1963)

The thing is that whilst "Showdown" has some decent ideas it also has some seriously far fetched ones. When we get to the meat of the movie with Lavalle letting Bert go to town by him self you really have to disengage your brain or just accept that Lavalle is not too bright. There are plenty more of these gaping holes in logic which when you concentrate on the movie add to the reek. But then I guess you were never meant to spend much time focussing on the script because whilst there is a bit of a surprise the outcome is inevitable.

The one thing which "Showdown" has going in its favour is the calibre of the cast with Audie Murphy delivering one of his typical but entertaining good cowboy performances whilst Strother Martin once again entertains as a town drunk. But these performances and the characters including Harold J. Stone as Lavalle are only typical of the western genre.

What this all boils down to is that "Showdown" firstly feels like just another western with an air of predictability about it although with a couple of twists. But the black & white footage alongside a lack of character depth makes it feel more like a movie rushed out on the cheap rather than because anyone had any great belief in the story.