Paramount // 1961 // 495 Minutes // Rated
Reviewed by Judge P.S. Colbert // December 16th, 2012
Short and sweet.
Come and get 'em! The latest round up of Dodge City adventures have arrived. Feeling parched? You can wet your whistle down at the Long Branch saloon, where drinking in the raven-haired beauty of proprietor Kitty Russell (Amanda Blake, Lili) won't cost you a plug nickel. Miss Kitty's well aware of a sod buster's occasional need to blow off steam, but any dispute that goes further than words needs to go outside. Once you're in street, you may feel yourself start to shivering -- that's because you're standing in the long shadow cast by U.S. Marshall Matt Dillon (James Arness, Island In The Sky), so watch them spurs, Hombre.
Gunsmoke: The Sixth Season, Volume 2 features nineteen episodes:
* "Love Thy Neighbor"
* "Bad Seed"
* "About Chester"
* "Old Faces"
* "Big Man"
* "Little Girl"
* "Stolen Horses"
* "Bless Me Til I Die"
* "Long Hours, Short Pay"
* "Hard Virtue"
* "The Imposter"
* "Chester's Dilemma"
* "The Love Of Money"
* "Melinda Miles"
* "Colorado Sheriff"
"By golly, there's a nice little bit of fluff." -- Doc Adams(Milburn Stone)
Doc and Chester (Dennis Weaver, Duel) are admiring a pretty blonde out-of-towner (Patricia Smith), just stepping off the stagecoach, and soon to become "Chester's Dilemma." This whimsical, lightly comic escapade is a derivation from the usual shootin' match, but one thing I don't think Gunsmoke gets enough credit for is its ability to seamlessly shift gears from monkey to deadly business and back again without sacrificing credibility.
Speaking of shifting gears, frequent guest star George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke) does a pair of villainous turns here, first playing a cagey psychotic killer, and then a bluntly menacing rapist. Both men have set their sights on the same target: Kitty. Though the episodes originally aired a little more than a month apart, the performances are so distinctly crafted, it's quite possible that 1961 audiences may not even have realized it was the same actor!
Why fix something unbroken? Despite delivering yet another batch of top-notch thumbnail portraits (not to mention finishing number one in the ratings for the fourth consecutive year), Gunsmoke ditched its half-hour format after the conclusion of Season Six. I'll do my best to keep an open mind, but it's been my experience there's a world of difference between these smaller bite black and white episodes (with their greased-lightning pace) and the hour-long color sagas I grew up with, many of which proved too poky for me to stay with from start to finish.
Meanwhile, this here collection of standard definition, full frame transfers looks go good, you'll swear you've traveled back in time. Same goes for the mono mix accompanying those images. Tin ear? No problem -- English subtitles are available.
Extras are scant; limited to just over a minute's worth of vintage sponsor spots. Matt reaches for flavor with L&M cigarettes, and Doc stays on the go with the help of his cordless Remington Lektronic shaver.
Better pack extra jerky into your saddle bags, come season seven, there'll be twice as much ground to cover.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 495 Minutes
Release Year: 1961
MPAA Rating: Rated
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