Wednesday, 14 January 2015

4 For Texas (4 Stars)

If anyone tells you that online streaming services like Netflix will replace Blu-rays and DVDs any time soon, don't believe it. Three days ago the Swedish actress Anita Ekberg died, so I decided to watch one of her films on Netflix to remember her. But guess what? Out of the 53 films that she made during her career none are available on Netflix. Not one. That's very, very poor indeed. Netflix can only be recommended for watching the big blockbusters of the last 20 years. Anyone who has more serious tastes in films will be disappointed.

So I turned to Amazon, where I found many of her films on sale, including this one for £2.01 (just over $3). The delivery was fast. I ordered it on Sunday evening and it arrived on Tuesday. Today I got a chance to watch it. It's not a film I had seen before, so I was curious about it.

The film takes place in 1870. Three men are travelling in a stagecoach, including Zack Thomas (Frank Sinatra) and Joe Jarrett (Dean Martin). The stagecoach is attacked by bandits, who kill the driver and the third passenger. After defeating the bandits in a gunfight, Zack and Joe fight over the money that belonged to the dead passenger, $100,000. Joe takes the money. He donates $25,000 to an orphanage, then uses the rest to buy a riverboat docked off Galveston, Texas, on which he opens a casino. Zack, who also lives in Galveston, makes repeated attempts to destroy the casino. Anita Ekberg plays Zack's girlfriend, Elya Carlson. Ursula Andress plays the riverboat's former owner, Maxine Richter, who becomes romantically involved with Joe.

As much as I wanted to watch the film for Anita Ekberg's sake, I have to admit that the film's outstanding actor is Frank Sinatra. He had great talents as an actor, not just as a singer. The two women struggle to speak English with their strong foreign accents, Anita Swedish and Ursula Swiss. Dean Martin is such a poor actor that it's difficult to take him seriously. Nevertheless, Anita Ekberg is remarkable for her sex appeal, far overshadowing Ursula Andress's lesser beauty.

Frank and Anita discussing business.

Frank leans in for a closer look.

Now Frank has forgotten what they were talking about.
Anita Ekberg
29 September 1931 – 11 January 2015

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