When Lead Men Lived Off Westerns
|Fred Sits Back Seat Behind Better B.O. Bets Doris and Jack|
Fred MacMurray Plays Cowboy in Face Of A Fugitive (1959)
Fred MacMurray as a stickup man with lots to answer for who holes up in a mine town and grows a conscience. There were oceans of adult-theme westerns in the 50's, companies trying to float above thick of TV oaters. A star like MacMurray could make a project with his name and deferred salary, the reward a chunk of net provided the show goes into black. Most of time ones like Fugitive could thrive by dint of thrift, avoidance of crowds, location, other spending traps. Face Of A Fugitive is primarily a "town" western, which meant conflicts settled by talk and infrequent gunplay. Good enough writing could assure interest, as was case here. "Morningside Productions" was where Charles Schneer hung hat, this a rare western he engaged, but not a sole one; there was also Good Day For A Hanging with MacMurray. Fred was known for holding on to a first dollar earned in pictures, one way of keeping rich to do sure-thing actioners like these. He wasn't a Scott or McCrea, but there was space for plenty on cowboy marquees, drive-ins especially hot to play outdoor product. Come to think of it, what's more appropriate than convertible-sit as Fred rides out for a reckoning, time-honored ritual to seldom require undivided attention.