Reviewed by JONATHAN LEWIS:         

THE LAST CHALLENGE. MGM, 1967. Glenn Ford, Angie Dickinson, Chad Everett, Gary Merrill, Jack Elam, Delphi Lawrence, Royal Dano. Screenplay: John Sherry, based on his novel Pistolero’s Progress (Pocket, 1966). Director: Richard Thorpe.

   Late 1960s oaters don’t have all that much to recommend them. Made at a time when the Spaghetti Western was reinventing and reinvigorating the genre, many of these films are more compelling as cultural artifacts than as compelling movies in their own right. Such is the case with The Last Challenge, a mediocre and formulaic Western featuring Glenn Ford as an outlaw turned lawman.

   Directed by Richard Thorpe, who had a long career at MGM, The Last Challenge was the veteran director’s final film. Unfortunately, it has almost nothing in it that you haven’t seen before. Ford portrays Dan Blaine, an aging gunfighter and former bank robber who installed himself as marshal in a small town. He’s also shacked up with the local brothel owner, Lisa Denton (Angie Dickinson). Then along comes upstart gunman, Lot McGuire (Chad Everett) who challenges Blaine to ascertain who is the better pistolero.

   At a running time of just over ninety minutes, the film offers up the typical – one might say even say stereotypical – tropes of 1960s B-Westerns: a crooked poker game, violent Indians, a man unable to fully escape his past. Truth be told, Glenn Ford, a presence in his own right, is just about the only thing that makes The Last Challenge worth watching. As for Dickinson, she looks completely bored, which is understandable when comparing how uninteresting her character is in this altogether forgettable film.