Galveston's Not Big Enough for the Both of Them

Frank Sinatra in 4 for Texas (1963)

When the stagecoach they are travelling on is attacked by bandit Matson (Charles Bronson) passengers Zack Thomas (Frank Sinatra) and Joe Jarrett (Dean Martin) manage to fight Matson and his outlaws off. But their friendship is short lived when Jarrett steals the $100,000 which was being transported in the stagecoach rather than share it between them. And things get worse when in Galveston where they discover they are both looking to run for the same riverside casino. But whilst they might not be friends they are going to have to work together to deal with not only Matson but also corrupt banker Harry Burden (Victor Buono).

"4 for Texas" is a comedy western which has something for everyone; fans of the Rat Pack will enjoy Frank and Deano as rival cowboys, those who like pretty women will enjoy Anita Ekberg and Ursula Andress, there is also Charles Bronson for more serious western fans and the cinematography of Ernest Laszlo serves up some nice scenes. But whilst there is something for everyone "4 for Texas" does not work as a whole and it almost feels like writer and Robert Aldrich gave up on trying to make the movie he intended and let Frank and Deano do it their way.

Dean Martin in 4 for Texas (1963)

You see the problem with "4 for Texas" is that it stops being a comedy western and becomes a Frank and Deano movie which is very clear right from the start. The opening scene which sees Matson attack the stagecoach is a good fast paced scene with some nice stunts and gunfire but you get a sense that firstly Frank Sinatra wanted to come across like Steve McQueen in "The Magnificent Seven" and Sinatra was no McQueen. But then we get the double crossing comedy between Frank and Deano over the money and it is a scene which is so laboured that the humour is sapped out of it as the two of them waffle on, take their time and basically did it their way. For fans of Frank & Deano it might work but for anyone else it quickly makes it obvious that this was a star vehicle rather than a comedy western.

But it is not just Frank and Deano as time and again there are scenes where the humour gets sucked out by it being laboured and waffly. Heck even the Three Stooges show up at one point for a cameo which fails to be that funny. Now it is said that Robert Aldrich and Frank Sinatra didn't get along with Aldrich wanting Sinatra removed from the movie and you could say that is where it all goes wrong but for me there are other things which don't quite work especially at over 2 hours "4 for Texas" is far too long out staying its welcome long before it ends.

What this all boils down to is that "4 for Texas" is entertaining and in truth is not terrible but you expect more than a western comedy which ends up little more than a vehicle for Sinatra and Martin. It is a case that it all kind of works but it doesn't work together and it leaves you with an end product which is over long and over indulgent whilst not being that funny.

Please support The Movie Scene by telling your friends and sharing this page:

Twitter Facebook Google LinkedIn Tumblr