4 for Texas (aka Four for Texas): Aldrich’s Misfire of Comedy Western, Starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Anita Ekberg, Ursula Andress

A low point in the careers of all concerned, Robert Aldrich’s 4 for Texas is a stale, unfunny comedy Western.

The movie stars Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and two foreign sex goddesses: Anita Ekberg, and Ursula Andress (just after becoming a star in the James Bond series).

4 for Texas
4 for Texas film poster.jpg

Theatrical poster

Grade: D (1/2* out of *****)

It also features screen thugs Charles Bronson (before he became a bona fide star) and Mike Mazurki, with cameo appearances by Arthur Godfrey and the Three Stooges (Larry Fine, Moe Howard, and Curly Joe DeRita).

Made on a budget of over $4 million, the movie was both critical and commercial flop. It was made in between two successful Aldrich horror pictures, starring Bette Davis in both, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? in 1962 and Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte in 1964.

Written by Teddi Sherman and Robert Aldrich, the tale is set in 1870, when a shipment of $100,000 is transported by a stagecoach to Galveston, Texas.  Soon it becomes the tug-of-war between Zack Thomas (Sinatra) and Joe Jarrett (Martin), who first must stave off an outlaw band led by Matson (Bronson).

In Galveston, Thomas and Jarrett become rivals in bid to open a casino. Each has a new romantic attachment, with the beauties Elya (Anita Ekberg) and Maxine (Ursula Andress), respectively.

In order to keep their new gambling boat afloat, they eventually join forces to hold off the villainous Matson and a corrupt banker, Burden (Victor Buono),

Frank Sinatra as Zack Thomas
Dean Martin as Joe Jarrett
Anita Ekberg as Elya Carlson
Ursula Andress as Maxine Richter
Charles Bronson as Matson
Victor Buono as Harvey Burden (President, Galveston Savings & Trust)
Edric Connor as Prince George (carriage driver)
Nick Dennis as Angel
Richard Jaeckel as Pete Mancini
Mike Mazurki as Chad (Zack’s bodyguard)
Ellen Corby as Widow
Jack Elam as Dobie


Directed, produced by Robert Aldrich
Produced by Robert Aldrich
Written by Teddi Sherman, Robert Aldrich, W. R. Burnett (uncredited)
Music by Nelson Riddle
Cinematography Ernest Laszlo
Edited by Michael Luciano
Color process Technicolor

Production company: The Sam Company

Distributed by Warner Bros.

Release date: December 25, 1963

Running time: 115 minutes
Budget $4,520,000