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Movies: “4 for Texas”

Dec. 25, 1963 - Opening today is “4 for Texas,” a comedy Western starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Anita Ekberg, and Ursula Andress, and featuring Charles Bronson and Mike Mazurki, with a cameo appearance by Arthur Godfrey and the Three Stooges. The film was written by Teddi Sherman and Robert Aldrich, who also directed. In 1870, a shipment of $100,000 being transported by stagecoach to Galveston is the object of a tug-of-war in the desert between Zack Thomas (Sinatra) and Joe Jarrett (Martin), who first must fight off an outlaw band led by Matson (Bronson). Later, in Galveston, Thomas and Jarrett become rivals in a bid to open a waterfront casino. Each has a new romantic attachment as well, with the beauties Elya (Ekberg) and Maxine (Andress), respectively. They eventually must join forces to hold off the villainous Matson and a corrupt banker, Burden (Victor Buono), to keep their new gambling boat afloat. The role of Elya was originally intended for Sophia Loren, who had already worked with Sinatra in “The Pride and the Passion.” Although she was offered $1,000,000 for four weeks of work, Loren turned the part down. A role had also apparently been written for Peter Lawford, but after Sinatra expelled Lawford from the “Rat Pack,” Lawford’s role was eliminated.


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