Ex-buffalo hunter and entrepreneur Wyatt Earp arrives in the lawless cattle town of Wichita, Kansas. His skills as a gunfighter make him a perfect candidate for Marshal, but he refuses the job until he feels morally obligated to bring law and order to this wild town.
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Another great Western from Tourneur, but this feels different from his other, community-based films. Or maybe not: after all, "Wichita" more directly refers to a place and a group of people than does "Stars in My Crown" and "Canyon Passage". And while it focuses on 1 man, it has a roundabout, episodic quality to its narrative structure.
All about reversals of expectations, disrupting preconceived notions, both structurally and formally, and holding its audience to recognize their own illusory myths. It’s also Tourneur’s first cinemascope film and I feel like he’s playing with this transition from academy ratio to cinemascope as a parallel to the reconfiguration of our expectations - a masterclass in staging and blocking of bodies.