A no account outlaw establishes his own particular brand of law and order and builds a town on the edges of civilization in this farcical western. With the aid of an old law text and unpredictable notions Roy Bean distinguishes between lawbreakers and lawgivers by way of his pistols. Written by
Keith Loh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Throughout the movie, the name of Ava Gardner's character is spelled Lillie Langtry. In the end credits, it is spelled Lily Langtry. See more »
Near the turn of the last century the Pecos River marked the boundries of civilization in western Texas. West of the Pecos there was no law, no order, and only bad men and rattlesnakes lived there.
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A unique and successful mythic treatment of a quintessental American folk-hero.
Unlike other comedic Western films of this era, John Huston's THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JUDGE ROY BEAN is based on a singular premise: that God Almighty has decided to judge men on this earth through Roy Bean, a petty outlaw and drifter. Early in the film Anthony Perkins (as the circuit riding Methodist minister the Reverdend LaSalle)recites the salient portion of Psalm 58 at an impromptu funeral he is presiding over for the deceased frontier scum that tried to kill and rob the solitary Roy Bean, (to their catastrophic destruction by Bean himself) Thia will remain the recurring theme and leitmotiv that will dominate and justify the startling and unlikely quest of Judge Roy Bean, petty criminal turned self appointed judge of Vinagaroon county Texas.
Despite the extreme rusticity of Bean's surrounding and beginnings, his quixotic position of dispenser of justice steadily grows and grows until Bean has become the most respected and influential man in that extreme outpost of civization.His position takes on a unmistakable sort of grandeur, as does his chivalrous obsession with Lily Langtry, which in the end has flowered into perhaps the last shout of true chivalry in the ancient European sense. When the corrupting forces of the encroaching outside world seem to have completely swallowed up Bean's life's work, the judge, who has been 'down the pike/' for twenty years, unexpectedly returns for a true DIES IRAE, a reckoning. The final scenes with Ava Gardner as Lily Langtry, visiting the tiny remaining outpost and museum which bear her name delivers a ending moment of surprisingly fine sentiment. I LOVED this picture, with the exception of the idiotic song that was inserted into the middle of this soaring myth (probably insisted upon by investors who thought an original song, no matter how dismal would increase the projected box office to the level of BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID.
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