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JAMES GARNER IN 'SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF' W/ BRUCE DERN

James Garner, Bruce Dern and Jack Elam YEAR: 1969
In the part of Jason McCullough, supposedly on his way to Australia where the Wild West is starting all over again, James Garner is the guy we know and love, and the actor, soon to find his niche, again, on television's ROCKFORD FILES, is as relaxing as a warm setting sun, and nothing can stop him...

Not Bruce Dern, who'd slay John Wayne in THE COWBOYS and would often play crazies, and is basically what Claude Akins was to RIO BRAVO. His scruffy clan consisting of two brothers and a headstrong father who need to break him free, at any cost. And yet, like that montage in SADDLES... though this is comedy, not spoof... whatever they throw at the Sheriff to stop him is quickly, easily, without a single hitch or problem, taken care of... Kind of like the cartoon of Popeye sleepwalking on a construction site girder, his feet accidentally yet successfully guiding him through one stage to anther till he's safe on the other side...

Ingenue Joan Hackett
Yet with a built-in experience and wisdom, McCullough's perfection doesn't seem based on luck but experience, and with his ugly, one-time manure-digging "town character" Jack Elam as a faithful deputy...

James Garner and Bruce Dern SCORE: ****
Just about everything a serious Western would offer, is all here, proving that a character can have absolutely no flaws and still be interesting since it's the people around him that adsorb all the action and distraction of the man's unstoppable presence...

Playing out like a live-action Disney flick sans Dean Jones or Jim Dale, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF is about as perfect a fun movie gets. The Sheriff's only real problem is the cowardly small town, thinking he's too good for his job and forcing them to kick into defensive action. And Joan Hackett as the girl who has his number, and is perhaps even braver... and definitely more violent... than he is. "Haven't you ever heard of just wounding somebody," Garner's Sheriff says to Hackett during the climax/finale. And she responds, smoking shotgun in hand. "I only know one way to shoot... And that's to kill!" So if anything is an obstacle for the perfect dude, it's the perfect girl, who's not so perfect.
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