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The Maverick Queen

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The Maverick Queen
A Pinkerton detective goes undercover to infiltrate a gang of thieves whose boss is a feisty lady saloonkeeper. Complications ensue.


John Chard
Sigh, poorly written piece that could have been so much more. Tough gal Kit Banlon opens a hotel and saloon out in frontier Colorado that soon becomes a haven of gamblers and gunfighters. With notable patrons being none other than Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. Fighting off the romantic advances of Sundance, Kit's life gets more interesting when she becomes attracted to a relative of the Younger Brothers' outlaw posse. Or is he? Whispers in the shadows point to the handsome stranger perhaps being a law man on the trail of the infamous Wild Bunch. Kit could very well be jeopardising much more than a unfulfilled romance if she falls in with the stranger? Directed by the genre prolific Joe Kane and based upon on the novel written by Zane Grey, The Maverick Queen is something of a wasted premise, with all the elements are in place for a twisty psychological Western. The story is a sound one, with the characters at first glance looking to have potential for gusto and intrigue, but it just doesn't come together as a whole, either through one dimensional male characters or through lazy writing, it ultimately ends up being a damp squib. A squib briefly sparked by Barbara Stanwyk (Kit) in one of her later career tough feminine roles, and a pretty as a picture Mary Murphy who also gets to show a bit of spunk. But the girls can't carry the picture alone... Barry Sullivan was a safe and amiable actor, he however was far from being a leading man who was able to carry a picture up front, thus here as the leading protagonist he struggles badly as he tries to make the tepid Kenneth Gamet screenplay work. It's a surprisingly weak adaptation from the man who wrote The Flying Leathernecks and the hugely enjoyable Coroner Creek, while Kane himself has to take some of the blame for letting the film plod when it should be zippy. There's a nice kicker in the finale - something that saves the piece from rotting at the bottom of the "B" Western barrel, but sadly it's just not decent enough to warrant a second glance - rendering as fact that both Stanwyck and the audience deserved better. 4/10

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