Wichita - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Wichita Reviews

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December 4, 2015
When Joel McCrea's Wyatt Earp decides to ban all guns from Wichita after the accidental shooting of a 5-year old boy, the resonances with current events in the USA were impossible to ignore. But, despite the ban, the gun-toting ruffians kept on coming, gunning for Earp because they couldn't stand being controlled. Moreover, the town's self-appointed chamber of commerce also thinks guns are good for business and that a little violence is a necessary side effect of a healthy economy. Another random shooting, a contract for murder, and some shootings in the street (often by Earp, prosecuting the law his own way) are necessary before the town begins to feel that law and order are the way to go. How many more deaths will it take in the US before guns get banned? True, we might not be able to trust some of those allowed to carry guns (such as Earp - although McCrea plays him as squeaky clean, if a little too ready to back up his words with bullets) but the alternative seems to be gunfights in schools, movie theatres, colleges, and every other damn public place. In Cinemascope with excellent direction by Jacques Tourneur.
½ November 4, 2015
another good western on the chronicles of Wyatt Earp before going to Dodge City. good cast and nice horses to.
½ November 26, 2014
Joel McCrea's depiction of Wyatt Earp is tough and domineering, and of course righteous on the side of justice. This is a fictional account in Wichita with a fairly ordinary storyline of those with most to lose resisting the law and order he brings, however it's decent enough entertainment and McCrea is solid.
December 23, 2013
Wyatt Earp shows up in Wichita to open shop, but ends up the marshall and cleans up the town instead. Joel McCrea is is usual understated self and does a nice job portraying Earp. Jacques Tourneur directed they film with less style than usual, but the action is still quite good, as is the cast, which more than makes up for the fairly routine story. Vera Miles, Lloyd Bridges, Wallace Ford, Peter Graves, Edgar Buchanan and Jack Elam also appear in the film.
October 19, 2013
131019: Everybody was just a little too serious in this film. Felt no love.
September 27, 2013
Classic and awesome.
May 15, 2013
Run of the mill western. Nothing special here.
Super Reviewer
March 5, 2013
bit of a run on westerns here. this lean and mean tourneur outing is the most badass i've ever seen from joel mccrea, playing wyatt earp (!) in no way historically accurate but who cares. tourneur's westerns are always a bit more complex than your average oater, see also 'canyon passage' and 'stranger on horseback'. gallop-by shootings and theme song by tex ritter
December 10, 2012
well cast & crafted western
January 3, 2011
Tombstone is the definitive Wyatt Earp film, but this one's no slouch. It's all the better when considering it came from an era of cookie-cutter westerns being churned out left and right.
½ July 13, 2010
Wyatt Earp (Joel McCrea) arrives in the small town of Wichita, which is quickly growing due to the new railroad line. While opening up a bank account, a group of criminals try to rob the bank, but Wyatt Earp stops them. This all happens to go down right in front of some of the most powerful businessman in town and they quickly try to convince Earp to become the Sheriff. Earp refuses saying he has no interest but later when a young boy is killed by accident by a group of drunken rowdy cowboys, Earp willingly decides to take up the duties as the lawman of Wichita.

Jacques Tourneur's Wichita tells the story of Wyatt Earp (Joel McCrea) and his efforts to bring law and order to the town of Wichita, Kansas. Its a rather standard story for a western, but Tourneur really just uses this story to explore some interesting themes. For starters, the film really is a meditation on the corruption which money can cause. The business man of the town willingly invite a more dangerous town, for the sake of revenue which can be brought in by the cowboys. Tourneur does a great job of giving these various characters, even the villians of the film, and making them well defined with real motives and humanity. T

The film in general just feels authentic as well. The characters are very hospitable to one and other, even when they clearly don't like each other. They saloons and rowdy nature of alcoholism which ran rampant in the west among cowboys is really shown in a realistic gritty light, being not nearly as celebratory as many western films seem to be. The only minor criticism I would have is that the love story does feel a tacked on, and almost completely unnecessary in telling this story. Its not terrible, but rather just cliche compared to everything else in this film.

In the End, Wichita is a stunning film in that Tourneur takes a very classic pulp western type story but layers some very interesting commentaries on alcholism, greed, and law/order.
March 13, 2010
A nice little Wyatt Earp tale reminiscent of the old pulp westerns. Just a man layin down the law. A bit of an anticlimax at the end, but all in all, an enjoyable time.
Super Reviewer
½ March 2, 2010
Ordinary western with cast of familiar faces.
½ December 18, 2009
Kind of a precursor to The Dark Knight with its I'm-going-to-enforce-the-law-and-I-don't-give-a-fuck-what-you-say attitude, and Tourneur is just a master of shot composition, seriously this is so subtly impressive with every frame and the use of color is terrific. Also a nice throwback to the days when studio films were comfortable with being unabashedly conservative.
March 21, 2009
Tourneur has a great way of undercutting expectations at every turn. The central conflict is a pretty straightforward one between law/order and profit, but the "villains" here are giving much greater humanity, or at least clearly defined motives and morality than that of the three Ford westerns I've seen so far. Also different from Ford, Tourneur takes a civilized, anti-gunslinger, anti-violence-to- problem-solving stance, which is reinforced by the unglamorous way Tourneur shoots the action scenes. Too bad Tourneur wasn't able to anything interesting with the cliche romantic subplot.
May 10, 2007
Jacques Tourneur's western, starring Joel McCrea, Vera Miles, Peter Graves, Jack Elam, Lloyd Bridges and others. Wyatt Earp doesn't want to be marshall, but doggone it, the town needs him. The cinemascope frame is often filled with dozens of background players. Good stuff.
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