More Dead Than Alive (1969)

Romance, Western
Clint Walker, Vincent Price, Anne Francis, Paul Hampton
When the multiple murderer Cain is released from prison after 18 years, he wants to settle down as a rancher and never touch a gun again. But his former life haunts him; not only that ...
  • 15 Jan 1969 Released:
  • 11 Nov 2014 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • George Schenck Writer:
  • Robert Sparr Director:
  • N/A Website:


Better Than Average "B" Western7/10
More Dead Than Alive turns out to be a surprisingly entertaining and fairly well-acted B movie.

Clint Walker gives his typical "gentle giant" performance as Killer Cain, a convicted murderer who is released after 18 years in prison. After a senseless prison shootout in the beginning of the movie, you expert this film to be nothing more that a "shootem-up". However, once Walker's character is released from prison, the movie becomes a well-acted drama about such topics as prison reform, parole, murder, hero worship, forgiveness and the desire for fame.

More Dead Than Alive's best performance is from Horror King, Vincent Price as Dan Ruffallo, a carnival barker with a traveling gun show. It's one of Price's best latter career performances.

The kicker in More Dead Than Alive is the shocking surprise ending. So, if you're a fan of Clint Walker or Vincent Price, More Dead Than Alive is the film to see.
This is my kind of western.....8/10
The title is misleading (as though it's some kind of zombie horror film), but this is definitely my kind of western. It's dark, sadistic, and action-filled. Clint Walker fans won't be disappointed, and I love the ending. Vincent Price seems to be having a great time in his role, and although Mike Henry is underused, he does a great job with his small, but important role, playing one of the villains. Hampton looks the part, but tends to overact a little (though not to the extent some have said) and ultimately he does well. I would rather have seen a tougher-looking guy in his role, such as Dean Smith, but it's not that big an issue.

In short, this is a dark, action-packed unique western, and I'm delighted that it's now on DVD in widescreen.
If you seek an offbeat western...7/10

I saw this film many years ago on TV and have never found it in any video store but would be well worth the rental fee for an evenings entertainment, if I could ever find it. Such is the impression it left me with. Around this time period, the Hollywood western had reached its nadir, what with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid et al, and was on its way out. I can think of a couple other offbeat westerns that appeared around this time, but nothing quite like this. For one thing, you have Vincent Price in it! Vincent Price in a western?! This is not a horror film, but it does have an interesting story line with good pacing, tight direction and an unexpected ending. Clint Walker, a much under-appreciated actor, plays a former gunfighter trying to live in peace apart from his past. Price heads a traveling quick draw show that comes into town and this is where the fun begins. Anne Francis is the love interest, Paul Hampton (whatever became of him?) is very effective as the young gunfighter wannabe. Do not miss this if you get the chance.
" Didn't anyone ever teach you, . . never holster an unloaded gun? "8/10
There are many films which the great actor Clint Walker made and a few became the foundation for the rest. In this film, which is one of his best, called " More Dead than Alive " is directed by Robert Spar and written by George Schench. It relates the unusual story of a multiple murderer, called Cain, (Clint Walker) who has paid the standard price for murdering several men, by serving nearly twenty years in prison. Now that he's out, he finds a job with Dan Ruffalo's (Vincent Price) wild west show. Earning honest money, Clain decides to capitalize on his infamous legacy while at the same time trying to go straight. Unfortunately, Cain's past is slowly creeping in on his peaceful life-style and it only a matter of time before it catches up to him. At the same time, Clain tries to teach Billy Valence an envious and arrogant reputation-seeking gun-slinger (Paul Hampton) not to make the same mistakes he made. The story is a moral one which has influence many a writer and director in the following movie years. For Walker, the least we can add is that this film has become a Classic. ****
An unusual Western10/10
This is a most peculiar western film. Clint Walker plays the role of Cain, a man released from prison after a 20 year sentence. The passing of time is touched on when Cain sees many new inventions such as a bicycle. His reputation seems to follow him everywhere he goes, and he can't hold a job very long. His only choice is to exploit his past evil life, and join a wild western shooting show run by a showman named Ruffalo, played by Vincent Price. I would recommend this film to any film fan that enjoys strange or Avant Garde Films. Price seems to believe that he is in one of his American International (AIP) horror roles like House of Usher or Pit and The Pendelum. The acting plays as if each actor believes they are in a different film. The movie was released by United Artists in 1968. It is not available on VHS or DVD, but it does show up on TV from time to time on Encore Westerns. I believe that MGM owns the United Artist catalog. They should restore this film and release it as part of their Avant Garde cinema series. I give the film ***1/2 out ****.