Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969): 3/5
Support Your Local Sheriff! is a bit out of my film comfort zone. I’ve watched quite a few westerns, but it’s far from my favorite genre and I don’t watch them very frequently.
So I decided to watch this on a bit of a whim. It was taped as a suggestion on my DVR and seemed interesting enough. It follows a man who comes into a western town and becomes sheriff, planning to eventually leave town with some new riches in tow and head to Australia. Along the way he falls for the mayor’s daughter and battles with some of the local tough guys.
I enjoyed this film a lot more than I expected to, because it is actually not an ordinary western at all, but a parody of the genre. By following all of the genres conventions – dirty faces, shoot outs, street brawls and struggles against authority – it becomes a successful and witty satire of the dusty towns and tough-guy figures that we’ve come to know throughout the years. It’s a subtle parody, with no direct jokes about the genre (aside from the ending, which I won’t give away because it was pretty hilarious).
The cast delivers the well-written script successfully. Their comedic timing and believability is pretty high, where there performances could have easily gone over the top given that the film is satirical.
Particular stand-outs are Joan Hackett as the mayor’s daughter and Jack Elam as Jake, the scruffy and very inexperienced deputy.
The pacing is also very well done. It’s a bit slow, but not so slow that it’s boring, which is a problem that I often have with westerns. The hilarious squabbles between the new sheriff and the “bad guys” keep the pace up and keep the plot moving.
I still wasn’t completely sold on this film, because it followed the conventions so closely. I can’t force myself to enjoy a genre that I’m just not into. However, I did enjoy it much more than the average western and found it to be a very witty satire of a genre that we don’t see much of anymore.