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Parents' Guide to

The Shakiest Gun in the West

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Wacky Don Knotts Western spoof has lots of drinking.

Movie NR 2003 101 minutes
The Shakiest Gun in the West Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+

For THE Comedy Western - Check Out: "The Paleface"

While Don's version of this funny tale might be OK - try out the original version for a load of slick laughs. Introducing: The Paleface – THE Comedy Western While some of the humour might have fallen out of vogue, this fun romp remains a top-notch skit on the most popular genre of its era. Bob Hope gave us many overtly humorous movies and he was made for this type of farce, there are not many others who could have injected so many laugh-out-loud belly chuckles into the situations generated by this material. Jane Russel is just right as undercover agent Calamity Jane and her exit scene is a lot of fun. Most of the jokes are spot on and those that may not hold up (for some) are still worthy of a smile. The three strip (IB) Technicolor is remarkable and it’s so good to see it given a near-to-the-original-look transfer. In fact, this Universal Archive release is quite exceptional in all aspects of DVD presentation (better than many of the current W.B. M.O.D. efforts) Standout sequences have Mr Hope being given instructions on how to outsmart a mean gunslinger, only to get all the helpful suggestion back to front - then, encountering a black cat in the undertaker’s preparation room. This is LOL comedic writing for those who enjoy clever slapstick type farce. It’s quite removed from much of today’s overindulged PC asides, and any who might take offence at the pretend Indians bodies that pile up during some farcical scenes, need to realise that white eyes are dropping off at the same rate. It’s all too comical to get too carried away with reality. There’s a fine Victor Young music score with an Award-winning song (although it’s worthy of a better rendition than the comical one given here by Bob) Fun, fun. fun.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

THE SHAKIEST GUN IN THE WEST is the kind of campy-fun movie they stopped making in the late 1960s or thereabouts. Not a great film by conventional standards, but as mindless entertainment for its own sake, it isn't bad. Don Knotts takes his Barney Fife character from The Andy Griffith Show -- replete with gun misfirings and nervous twitchings at the signs of any danger -- and applies it to this spoof of Westerns. Slapstick, pratfalls, and wonton silliness abounds.

Made in 1968 (and a remake of a 1948 Bob Hope film called The Paleface), not all the humor will resonate with kids, over 40 years later. The excessive drinking and Native American stereotyping should call into question the idea that "movies were way more wholesome than they are today," but for those who find humor in clumsiness and gun misfirings, The Shakiest Gun in the West is an enjoyable send-up of Western movie conventions.

Movie Details

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