Mansfield wants more of Sheriff Tibbs
"The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw" reminds me of a "Carry On" movie as it centres on an oblivious English gentleman being a fish out of water in the Wild West where he finds himself becoming the sheriff of a troubled town. It has all the elements from the Kenneth More as the naive and charming Jonathan Tibbs, the busty and sexy Jayne Mansfield as sassy bar owner Kate and a variety of problems, it even has a small part for "Carry On" stalwart Sid James as a drunk. And very much in the same style of a "Carry On" movie you have the padding of sub plots which include land wars between rival ranchers, trouble from local Indians and of course some romance. But in many ways "The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw" is superior to a "Carry On" movie as whilst there is plenty of padding, everything revolves around Jonathan Tibbs being an oblivious fish out of water, sorting things out in a very English way and for the most it is amusing.
Having travelled to America and the Wild West in the hope of selling guns English gentleman Jonathan Tibbs (Kenneth More - A Night to Remember) finds himself the talk of the town when he stops an Indian attack on a stagecoach by reprimanding the Indian chief. But Tibbs is totally oblivious to all of this notoriety and is bemused when the local mayor makes him the latest in a long line of Sheriffs. With more Indian trouble, land wars between rival ranchers and an attraction to sassy bar owner Kate (Jayne Mansfield - Kiss Them for Me), Tibbs certainly has a lot to contend with especially as he can't even shoot a gun.
Because "The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw" is first and fore mostly a comedy you don't expect much of a storyline and to be honest you don't get much of a storyline. The whole thing is built around the very charming Jonathan Tibbs heading to America and the Wild West to sell guns for his family company and being oblivious to everything going on around him. So we have the stagecoach journey which comes under attack from Indians and being oblivious to the danger Tibbs initially thinks it's exciting whilst the other passengers panic and when it gets too much he goes to have a talk with the Indian chief, unaware of the danger.
And so it goes on because the whole movie is about Tibbs sorting things out in a very gentlemanly way and being oblivious to what is really happening, so from the trick gun up his sleeve getting him out of scrapes, through to accidents happening which he obliviously causes we have one amusing scene after another. And it is amusing as Kenneth More as Tibbs delivers the oblivious fish out of water quite brilliantly but to be honest it does become quite weak and repetitive by the time things finally come to and end.
But like a "Carry On" movie "The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw" is padded out by sub stories such as the trouble between rival ranchers which Tibbs finds himself caught in the middle of as well as the local Indians which he ends up befriending. These subplots are a little more than just padding as they do all revolve around Tibbs being in a bad situation caught in the middle thanks to some confusion as to why he showed up in town, with the rival ranchers believing he is a gunslinger working for the opposing ranch. But at the same time they aren't that hugely important or should that be interesting, whilst the obvious romance between Tibbs and sassy bar owner Kate does. It is expected and obvious with Kate ending up falling for Tibbs's English charms but it is also amusing especially during the scene where Kate tries to teach him how to shoot ending with the expected comedy kiss.
But the thing which makes "The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw" fun is down to the performances from Kenneth More and Jayne Mansfield. Kenneth More is wonderful as the charming English gentleman and gets the element of being oblivious to everything across without over playing it so that you end up laughing because it is funny rather than being daft. And at the same time Jayne Mansfield is just as wonderful and beautifully over the top as sassy bar owner Kate, with her figure enhancing outfits and almost breathless delivery of her lines. It's by no means a brilliant performance from Jayne Mansfield and you almost get a sense that the pauses she delivers were not scripted but more her trying to remember the lines but it works and is genuinely amusing.
what this all boils down to is that "The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw" is a fun movie, a comedy western very much in the same manner as a "Carry On" movie. It is mainly down to the wonderful performances of Kenneth More and Jayne Mansfield which makes it fun and genuinely amusing. But at the same time by the time things come to a head it does suffer from being repetitive.