Our friends out at CBS Video once again sent over a little slice of retro, but this time, not in television. Some might not be familiar with the fact that Dean Martin was once in a Western–I really wasn’t until I’d heard about this one–and this one is called “Something Big.” The question is, would the movie live up to the title?
“Something Big.” follows comparative small timer Joe Baker, who’s out to make his mark on the world and do that titular “Something Big” with his life. To that end, he’s out to lay hands on a Gatling gun, because when you’ve got one of those in the old West, well, you’re able to square off with small armies. Better yet, he knows where he can get one, thanks to the efforts of a particularly shady racketeer. But in order to get that gun, he’s going to have to embark on a series of insane prospects, like robbing a stagecoach and kidnapping the lovely young woman whom the racketeer with the firepower has his eye on.
That’s all bad enough, but Joe Baker’s got something of a tail on his hands, the future Mrs. Baker who’s come to get her man back by any means necessary! Will Joe manage to pull off his “something big”? Will his bride to be derail his grandiose plans? Or will the journey prove to be just the something big he needs?
Admittedly, the combination of a Western and a theme song sung by no less than Burt Bacharach may be a little jarring, especially to Western purists, but the concept is sound enough, and the execution is actually pretty sharp. This has all the standard elements of your typical Western, with plenty of horses charging across wide open spaces and some occasional gunplay, a worthwhile blend of action and some occasional comedy, with just enough drama to make the whole thing worthwhile and humming along.
Personally, I think this one could have stood a bit more gunplay, at least I did until about an hour in when the man-hungry Standall sisters managed to get their hooks in the cavalry officer Col. Morgan. A married man, he tried to conduct himself with propriety, but then a little offscreen action at gunpoint took place. While it wasn’t exactly a female-on-male rape, it was close enough to have a bit of a squick factor to it that was rather unwelcome.
There was certainly plenty to like here, with a good solid ending, some rather thrilling sequences, and more than a few good laughs. Still, despite a minor misstep or two along the way, “Something Big” is still plenty big, and a great one for Western buffs and those who aren’t quite so keen on Westerns. It’s a surprisingly fun title, and those who watch it should find themselves minimally disappointed.