Cinema: Dry Spell Out West

The Hallelujah Trail is bigger but not better than any of the recent comedies that are supposed to milk laughs from the sacred cows of the Hollywood western. The sheer bulk of the opus is one clue to its failure. Given a plot with several droll twists, Director John Sturges (The Great Escape, Bad Day at Black Rock) lets his camera roam freely over the Cinerama landscape, too often striving for epic effects when antic effects are needed.

The year is 1867. With winter due, the city of Denver has been hit by a...

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