The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw (1959)

Genres - Comedy, Western  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy Western, Parody/Spoof  |   Release Date - Dec 1, 1958 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Those in the mood for a lighthearted Western fish-out-of-water tale will find plenty to like in The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw, an amiable little film that plays a familiar tune but does so deftly and with a genial spirit. Owing a great deal to precursors such as Ruggles of Red Gap and much less raucous than such later spoofs as Cat Ballou or Blazing Saddles, Sheriff is the kind of movie that tends to evoke a feature-length smile rather than roars of laughter in its audience. Not that there aren't a decent number of genuine laughs to be had along the way; it's just that Sheriff is out to please rather than to overwhelm, and it succeeds nicely. Much of its success is due to the nifty and nimble performance of Kenneth More in the title role, one of the most likeable cowards one is likely to encounter on screen. His co-star, Jayne Mansfield, doesn't score as highly; she's fine and she certainly looks stunning, but she lacks the spark that would make her character come to life. The supporting cast is good, especially Henry Hull and Robert Morley; one wishes the latter had been given a bit more to do. Raoul Walsh, directing in a style with which he is not usually associated, keeps things moving briskly, resulting in a breezy and entertaining little trifle.