Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked Movies: The Cheyenne Social Club

It's been well over forty years since I saw THE CHEYENNE SOCIAL CLUB, and I'd forgotten what a pleasant little movie it is. Of course, with James Stewart, Henry Fonda, and Shirley Jones heading the cast, it's no real surprise that this is a very enjoyable movie.

Stewart and Fonda play Texas cowboys who are pretty content with their lives, but then Stewart gets a letter from a lawyer and discovers that he's inherited a business in Cheyenne, Wyoming from his late brother. They saddle up and ride north, and when they reach Cheyenne, Stewart is shocked to find that the business he's inherited is a house of ill repute. The best one in town, in fact, staffed by half a dozen beautiful and charming soiled doves led by Shirley Jones. The morally upright Stewart wants nothing to do with such an enterprise, but you know the girls are going to win him over.

This is all pretty much fantasy, of course, lightweight and played mostly for laughs, bearing no resemblance whatsoever to the reality of prostitution in the Old West. To which I say, so what? THE CHEYENNE SOCIAL CLUB is a sweet, good-hearted movie, and I'll take that over reality most of the time. There's a little action, as Stewart's character is forced into a gunfight with a local troublemaker (the great Robert Wilke, one of the go-to villains in Westerns from this era—he's the guy James Coburn kills in a knife vs. gun fight early in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN). When Stewart guns down Wilke, a bunch of the latter's revenge-minded relatives show up, leading to a well-done battle at the club.

Almost any movie with Jimmy Stewart in it is worth watching just to listen to the man talk, as far as I'm concerned. He and Fonda phone it in a little in this movie, but so expertly that they're still great fun to watch. I've always liked Shirley Jones, and the rest of the cast is good, too. Gene Kelly isn't the first person you'd think of to be directing a Western, but his light touch works well with the comedy in this one and the action and the sweeping vistas are good, too.

Maybe it caught me at just the right moment, but I really had a good time watching this movie. If you've never seen it before, or if it's been forty years or more, like me, I think it's a fine way to spend a couple of hours.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Haven't seen it in years either but have fond memories of it. We don't know how to make light hearted movies anymore.

RJR said...

Isn't this the movie where George Kennedy says, "Trouble's coming, and trouble rides a fast horse?"

Oscar Case said...

A fine entertainment that movie.

Fred Blosser said...

Three words: Sue Ann Langdon.