Thursday, February 05, 2009

Recent western views

SAVAGE GUNS (1971)- sloppy, poorly staged Spaghetti western this is at several points just plain stupid. A standard revenge story with nothing compelling about the main character or interesting about the villain it has only a few moments of entertainment. In the middle the movie has a completely pointless slow motion fist fight that serves absolutely no purpose. The main characters are not involved and the scene doesn't have anything to do with the story.Its as if the stunt coordinator took over for an afternoon and gave everyone a good workout. One odd thing I should note- Gordon Mitchell shows up as a bounty killer at one point only to be ignored and brushed aside beyond his introductory scene. And his character is named GORDON MITCHELL! What the hell was going on? Did they have him for a single day and shoot that one scene? Bizarre and skippable.

SHALAKO (1968)- I've shied away from this film for years because of the two star review in the old Leonard Maltin guide- will I never learn? Although it isn't great it is quite well done with some good performances and a series of exciting action scenes. The movie's main flaw is that the characters are sketchily drawn with little reason to care about them beyond the tension of the danger in which they are placed. I like the fact that it focuses on big game hunters who came here in the 19th century to score wild, New World trophies. Sean Connery is good and I now wish he had done more westerns when he was in his prime. Bridgett Bardot is very good and quite beautiful giving us a little side view of her breasts at one point- always a welcome sight. I even like the theme song- Shal-a-KO,Shal-a-KO!

THE HILLS RUN RED (1966)- good early revenge spaghetti that I could stand to watch again. Well done with some nice double crossing and a great turn from Dan Duryea as an unexpected ally of our central
character. Henry Silva is over the top as the main bad guy henchman
dressed in black- he has some great nasty moments and really sells it.

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