Violence for children is like violence for adults, only nobody gets hurt. In the Disney film "Hot Lead and Cold Feet," there is constant shooting, gun dueling, falling or being pushed off roofs and over cliffs, fist fights, saloon brawls and even two sweet little children hitting a well-meaning old man over the head with a board.
But it's all supposed to be fine for the kiddies because nobody ever bleeds - let alone dies - from any of these bullet or other wounds. Violence without consequences, like reckless driving without consequences in car-chase scenes, has become a film convention.
The excuse for all this hostility is an Old West story about a good brother and a bad brother set against each other by their father. All three are played by Jim Dale, who thus proves that he can approximate a Cockney accent, a tough Western accent and some peculiar old man speech. This provides a diversion for the children, who can try to figure out how the film was put together without any of the chief characters appearing on the screen simultaneously until one trick scene at the end.
The only other diversion is provided by the facial expressions of Don Knotts and Jack Elam, who appear periodically in irrelevant but amusing sequences to have abortive duels. Knott's gulp of disbelief and Elam's wall-eyed threatening stare are pretty good, even if they never change.
Okay, so that's two things to watch in an otherwise dreary and inexplicable story - there is, for example, the odd and unexplained presence of an English butler - and that's considered high in the trash-for-children business.
HOT LEAD AND COLD FEET: Academy 6, Buckingham, Jefferson, Landover 2, Loural Drive-in, Marumaco, Roth's Mantigomery, Springfield Moll 4, Super Chief Drive-in. Tysons Twin 11 and White First.