The film 5 Card Stud (1968) is an obscure movie from the 60s starring Robert Mitchum and Dean Martin, both at the peak of their acting careers. The storyline attempts to solve a storyline and is full of action. The film’s appeal is not the storyline but the cast itself. Otherwise, this would be an ordinary B grade movie.
The star in the film is Martin, who was 50 years old when the film was shot. He still had his charm, with a tinge of wariness, which worked them, I don’t know about now. In the film, he plays the character, Van Morgan. He is a gambler who resides in Rincon, Colorado. AS the film kicks off, we see him playing a card game in a saloon late at night. One of the players is caught cheating, and the whole affair turns into a lynch party. Van tried to stop the lynching with no success.
Following the incident, Van quits the town and heads for Denver, just until the horrifying experience clears out of his head. While he is away, the town hits the jackpot – gold is discovered in Rincon’s town. Many people pack up and head to the town, including a pistol-packing so-called preacher named Robert Mitchum. In the excitement, two people, members who were involved in the opening card game, die.
Van gets wind of the death through George, a friend, and bartender where the lynching happened. Thinking that someone will be coming for him too, Van heads back to the town to find out who is behind the murders.
The exciting bit about this film is the mystery surrounding the murder. Sadly, it is relatively easy to tell who the murderer is. However, this does not take way fun out of the film, even though the director’s attempt to hide the culprit feels incredibly pointless.
The primary and supporting cast features recognizable faces. There’s Roddy McDowall, who plays the son of a Rancher. When we first see him, his English-ness feels somewhat misplaced, but he plays his role so well that eventually, he becomes lovable. Denver Pyle is the rancher. Yaphet Kotto, an unknown figure play George, but whose face you are likely to recognize.
Alongside the film’s usual drama, there’s some superfluous love connection between the rancher’s daughter and Van. Martin gets it easy with the women, but his connection with the madam, Inger Stevens, is more vital than that between him and Kathrine Justice. Their relationship is more of that of an elder brother or father figure.
Henry Hathaway directed 5 Card Stud. His most significant contribution to the film was that he kept things moving forward as the cast does its thing. Although some might argue that the action scene was very well done, it’s unlikely that the director would make new strides in the movie sector. The film’s thrill is mainly thanks to the matching of Martin and Mitchum. Each does an excellent job independently. Martin lacked charism, but he did take his role seriously enough to be convincing. Mitchum, on the other hand, had a unique presence.