Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973) Poster

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A good film for Wayne
Roger Franks1 August 2004
Unlike the comment that said "unoriginal", for a western of the early seventies, when the western was at that time dying out for a period, this is a gallant effort on the part of all involved in the production. I must confess, it would be hard for me to say anything bad about a John Wayne movie, it certainly is not "The Searchers", but no where near "The Geisha and the Barbarian". Cahill was a milder Wayne as a family man, with a good lesson of being there when your needed as a father. A strong point that stands out in the movie, with the other elements (bank robbers, bad guys, boys in trouble) well incorporated around the basic theme. Andrew V. McLaglen did justice to the script, keeping things simple but well rounded, with a conclusion that will satisfy the western fan. After watching the film on TCM recently, I came to realize that it may be dated, somewhat, but a true measure of what good film making is all about. In a world of high budgets, overpaid actors and grand special effects, "Cahill, U.S. Marshall" gives what any viewer would want from such a film: A good story.
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6/10
How would Rooster Cogburn have handled it?
bkoganbing22 June 2005
As portrayed by John Wayne, United States Marshal J.D. Cahill is a man obsessed with his work as a lawman. I guess you needed super dedication in doing that job right. Trouble is, he's neglected his two sons, Gary Grimes and Clay O'Brien who've fallen in with bad company. In fact that bad company has thought of a pretty good scheme in how to rob the town bank with the help from the Cahill boys. One unforeseen consequence of the scheme is the sheriff and deputy from the town are both killed.

Wayne catches up with some nefarious characters who fit a general description and have a chunk of cash on them. They're not the right guys and he suspects as much. The rest of the story concerns what happens as Grimes and O'Brien are conscience stricken and how that brings about a general righting of wrongs.

My problem with the story is that marshal's kids or not, they've committed a major league felony. In another film Grimes would have hung for it. Two law enforcement officials were killed in the performance of their duty. You do recall in Hang 'Em High those two kids who did not help Bruce Dern overpower Clint Eastwood still hung in the end. Or in True Grit, John Wayne shoots without hesitation some young criminals there.

But this is a John Wayne film involving his family so the Duke is trapped by certain parameters that his fans expect. It makes for some weakly resolved issues in the plot.

But if you're a fan of the Duke, Cahill U.S. Marshal will fill your bill.
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8/10
Solid Action Picture
FightingWesterner13 January 2010
While US Marshall Cahill (John Wayne) hunts outlaws, his wayward sons get in way over their heads when the supposedly safe, after-hours bank robbery plan with slimy saddle-tramp George Kennedy turns into a bloodbath. When Cahill returns and ends up arresting innocent men, it sends the two youths scrambling to do the right thing.

Though one of Wayne's later, less acclaimed movies, there's still a whole lot of fun to be had in this well produced, action filled morality tale.

Kennedy is in truly fine form here as a truly vile bad guy, while Neville Brand, who's usually typecast as despicable villains and psychopathic cretins, delivers a standout, heroic performance as Wayne's halfbreed sidekick.

The tense, bloody climax is pretty good.
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7/10
Good and enjoyable western with a great casting and a sensational John Wayne against his nemesis magnificently played by George Kennedy
ma-cortes22 March 2014
This exciting film packs action Western , go riding , thrills , emotion , shoot-outs and is quite amusing . It contains a magnificent main cast as John Wayne facing off his contender George Kennedy and a top-notch support cast . it's a sympathetic western , with a beautiful cinematography , glamorous scenery and great soundtrack . It deals with J.D. Cahill (John Wayne) is the toughest U.S. Marshal they've got, just the sound of his name makes bad guys stop in their tracks . Break the law and he's the last man you want to see , and the last you ever will . When his two children (Gary Grimes , Clay O'Brian) want to get his attention they decide to help some cutthroats (George Kennedy) to rob a bank . As five killers robbed a bank , the lucky ones get caught and the events go awry .

Nice Western packs thrills , family feeling , shoot'em up and results to be pretty entertaining . Besides , it contains good feeling as friendship , faithfulness , companionship , and enjoyable father-sons relationship . Furthermore , an anti-racism subtext was written into the script in response to ongoing criticism of John Wayne . The screenplay is plain and simple, with a conventional plot , but ultimately gets overcome . Gorgeous outdoors with decent production design by Walter Simonds , though the opening and finale scenes were filmed entirely in the studio . Enjoyable acting by always great John Wayne . Most of the scenes showing John Wayne riding from a distance were filmed with Chuck Roberson substituting for Wayne . His son is well played by Gary Grimes (Summer of 42, Class of 44) , he performed in similar role as a naive cowboy other films (The spikes gang , CulpepperCattle) , though he virtually disappeared without much trace and nowadays is retreated . Neville Brand was surprised to be offered the role of half-Commanche scout Lightfoot, a part he felt he was badly unsuited for, but accepted it just because he liked working . There also appears notorious secondary actors from numerous Westerns such as Denver Pyle , Paul Fix , Harry Carey Jr , Hank Worden , Marie Windsor , Dan Vadis , Walter Barnes , Royal Dano , among others.

Rousing musical score by Elmer Bernstein in his ordinary style , including some marvelous songs with lyrics by Don Black . Colorful and spectacular cinematography in Panavision by Joseph Biroc , being filmed on location in Durango , Mexico . Rightly produced by Batjac Production , a company presided by John Wayne and his son Michael A. Wayne . This well-paced film was compellingly directed by Andrew V. McLagen , son of great actor Victor McLagen . The pic contains McLagen's usual themes as familiar feeling , a little bit of charming humor , friendship and and sense of comradeship among people . Andrew does the human touch and full of insight that accompanied him during most of his films and the story develops pleasantly in a large frame with an interesting plot and fully adjusted to the requirements of the action . Andrew McLagen is a known Ford's disciple introducing similar themes in his films . Andrew holds the distinction of directing the most episodes of "Gunsmoke" . Furthermore , he holds the honor of filmmaking the most episodes of ¨Have gun , Will travel" . And is one of the few directors to have directed both Clint Eastwood and John Wayne . He's a Western expert (McLintock , Shenandoah , Bandolero , Chisum , Cahill , Way West) and warlike specialist , such as proved in several films (Return to Kwai, Wild Geese , Dirty dozen: the next mission, Sea wolves, Breakthrough) . Rating ¨Cahill¨ : Agreeable , and above average Western 6'5 . The picture will appeal to John Wayne fans . Worthwhile watching .
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World premiere information
nadervideo1 December 2002
"Wednesday Morning" was the working title; "Cahill U.S. Marshal" had its world premiere in Seattle, Washington on June 14, 1973 at the 7th Avenue Theatre, where there were pickets by American Indians protesting the film. John Wayne had just arrived in Seattle the week before to start shooting "McQ". Cast and crew members from "Cahill", "McQ" and "The Cowboys" were at the premiere: Mark Rydell, Diana Muldaur, Eddie Albert, Robert Duvall, Clay O'Brien, Michael Wayne, James Caan, Marsha Mason (these two were filming "Cinderella Liberty" in Seattle at the time), Andrew McLaglen, Marie Windsor, Jackie Coogan. The regular run started the next day at the Town Theatre.
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6/10
Little known John Wayne western where his charm still comes through...
dwpollar24 December 2001
Warning: Spoilers
1st watched 12/24/2001 - 6 out of 10(Dir-Andrew V. McLaglen): Little known John Wayne western where his charm still comes through despite his age. This is the perfect John Wayne movie made very much like his older western movies despite the fact that it was made near the end of his life. This shows me that he knows what he's best at and returned the formula that brought him fame & fortune. Here he plays a U.S. Marshall named Cahill that is a workaholic despite having 3 young sons that are constantly being neglected. They involve themselves in a robbery to get his attention and get mixed up in more than they had hoped for. Wayne comes to the rescue for his children and win's their hearts before it's all over(which is what we'd expect from his most popular movies). The All-American man realizes his faults and takes back the responsibility that he knew was his all along and they all live happily ever after.
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5/10
Thematically strong, but executed with little gusto.
Spikeopath14 March 2008
"If you don't like the treatment, then don't rob banks"

J.D. Cahill is a fearsome Marshal, his reputation goes before him where ever he roams, but when his two sibling boys decide to get his attention by way of joining a gang and then robbing a bank, he is perhaps faced with his toughest challenge.

This is not a great John Wayne film, in fact it's distinctly average, but at its heart, the tale of a single father trying to balance his work and bring up his children properly, is interestingly watchable. Unfortunately after a brisk and entertaining opening the film ambles along without any wish to up the ante. John Wayne, and chief bad guy George Kennedy appear to merely be going through the motions, and some of the technical work here only compounds the cheap feel that cloaks the story. It's ultimately mostly unforgettable stuff, but it deserves a watch because it does at least say a bit more than at first thought, it's just real sad that it's not put together very well. 5/10
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5/10
What happens when an Old West Marshal neglects his two sons
Wuchak20 May 2017
Released in 1973 and directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, "Cahill United States Marshal" is a Western starring John Wayne as the titular marshal and Neville Brand as his half-Native tracker in the Southwest. Widower Cahill is so busy with his work that he's neglectful of his two sons, 10 and 17, and thus they veer toward delinquency, hooking up with a group of ne'er-do-wells (led by George Kennedy). After getting away with robbing a bank, the sons must deal with the moral conundrum of a (dubious) group of men being hanged for a crime they didn't commit.

The Duke had some great or near great Westerns in the final two decades of his career (e.g. "The Horse Soldiers," "The Alamo," "The Comancheros," "El Dorado," "True Grit," "The Cowboys," "The Train Robbers" and "Rooster Cogburn"), but "Cahill" isn't one of 'em. While I appreciate that Wayne tried to do something different by having the story focus on the ramifications of his neglected kids, the movie simply isn't very compelling and the boys aren't interesting as characters. It doesn't help that Kennedy is decidedly cartoony as the villain. Disregarding the awesome Western locations, the storytelling smacks of a 60s or 70's TV show Western.

Yet, if you're a Duke fan, "Cahill" is mandatory viewing. The relationship between Cahill and the tracker (Brand) is a highlight, as is the Western scenery. Speaking of the latter, the movie is further hampered by three nighttime sequences obviously shot in the studio, which appear at the beginning, middle and end, but that's a minor cavil.

The film runs 103 minutes and was shot in Sonora, Mexico; Arizona; and Calderon Ranch, California. The screenplay was written by Harry & Rita Fink based on Barney Slater's story.

GRADE: C
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