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It may be hard to imagine Frank Sinatra in the Wild West other than Las Vegas but he did make the trip for a few movies. In 4 for Texas (1963), he even took along buddy Dean Martin, enlisted edgy tough-guy director Robert Aldrich (Kiss Me Deadly, 1955), threw in Anita Ekberg and Ursula Andress for eye appeal and still found room for a Three Stooges cameo. As you might expect, this is not your usual Western.
Sinatra and Martin play two ne'er-do-wells on their way to Texas when an attack by bandits mistakenly leaves them with $100,000 in loot. Martin with his trusty gun relieves Sinatra of all financial responsibility and then hightails it to Galveston, Texas, where he becomes possibly the first robber to deposit his money in a bank. Victor Buono owns the bank, and is one of many people trying to dominate the gambling in this wide-open port town. Into the fracas rides Charles Bronson, the leader of the original bandits, who's not too happy about losing the money. Fightin' and schemin' ensue.
Released in 1963, 4 for Texas is a good example of what at the time was called a "clan picture." In other words, Sinatra collected his "Rat Pack" buddies, headed out to the Mojave Desert and tossed off an entertaining film that made no pretensions to serious art. Still, the script has uncredited contributions from W.R. Burnett (who wrote the novels Little Caesar and High Sierra). Sharp-eyed viewers might want to watch for B-Western star Bob Steele and future Homicide detective Yaphet Kotto.
Director/Producer: Robert Aldrich
Screenplay: Robert Aldrich, Teddi Sherman, W.R. Burnett (uncredited)
Cinematography: Ernest Laszlo
Editor: Michael Luciano
Art Direction: William Glasgow
Music: Nelson Riddle
Cast: Frank Sinatra (Zack Thomas), Dean Martin (Joe Jarrett), Anita Ekberg (Elya Carlson), Ursula Andress (Maxine Richter), Charles Bronson (Matson).
by Lang Thompson