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  #31  
Old 20th July 2016, 06:46 PM
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Default Lawman (1971)

Lawman (1971)

Lawman (1971)

It seems a shame that Michael Winners career for what ever reason as a director (old age,ill heath) seem to fizzle out,he made some of the best action movies of the early to mid 1970's,and ironically he made two of the best westerns of the 70's considering he was from Hampstead.Not surprisingly he seem to be able to turn his hand to any genre and make a decent film,he seemed to have many detractors but genuinely made films for the audience as opposed to pleasing the critics.The Lawman in question is Burt Lancaster as Jared Maddox,a single minded lawman who is determined to bring to justice Lee J. Cobb as Vincent Bronson,and his cow hands who had previously shot up a town after a night of drinking and debauchery and in the mayhem an old man is gunned down. Lancaster's Maddox shares a similarity with Eastwoods William Munny from The Unforgiven,Maddox like Munny is totally unyielding in his purpose,and in his mission to bring justice and whatever cost to himself or the people around him. In fact Maddox who is the law,does not seem at all worried about gunning down anybody who tries to get in his way. With a top notch cast including Robert Ryan ,Lee J. Cobb and Robert Duvall, Winner's wild west is a violent doomed ridden place,where even the lawman are despised.Burt Lancaster gives a stoic portrayal and manages to stop gunning down people for a few minutes while he shares a bed with Sheree North.It would not be a Winner film without it's fair share of bloodshed and it does not disappoint,I suppose what tends to rile the critics is Winners politics,in Death Wish it taps into the right wing vigilante,Maddox is incorruptible ,but never try to shoot him in the back.It also has one of the bleakest endings that took me by surprise.
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  #32  
Old 20th July 2016, 07:06 PM
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Sweet Vengeance (2013)

In the western town of Sweetwater, a fanatical preacher, a rogue sheriff and a classy former prostitute collide in a blood soaked tale of murder and revenge.

I really enjoyed Sweet Vengeance the first time round and this second viewing was no less rewarding.

For the first twenty minutes i felt the film was trying to be too provocative and clever for its own good, however with the proper introduction of Ed Harris's dingbat sheriff the storyline settled down and evolved into a rather tasty out for revenge western. Stylistically more on the lines of the spaghetti movement or later Hollywood pieces such as The Missing and Seraphim Falls rather than the classic American western of old. In fact having said that its a film which uses colour really well, especially January Jones's beautiful purple dress, startling against the yellows and browns of the classic western environments. She also played it beautifully. This kindly family woman just wanting to make a home with her husband and dog out on the range, suddenly with it all taken away from her she becomes an angel of vengeance.

The film has an excellent cast, the already mentioned Ed Harris, Jason Isaacs as the crazed preacher and Madmen's Jones as the landowner whose murdered husband is at the centre of the plot. I've seen Jones in a couple of films recently and this is the first one where she's actually been given something meaty to do, her killing spree in the final twenty minutes is as brutal and well performed as any i've seen, Calamity Jane she ain't. Isaacs as the prophet Jason is downright disturbing at times, his nefarious actions eventually bringing him the unwanted attention of both Jones and Harris. Isaacs scenes with Harris although non-violent are brilliantly confrontational and compulsive viewing.

Sweet Vengeance has some fantastic stand out scenes - Harris crucified upside down for one and Jones, standing naked in the river, turns round, 45 in hand, casually killing her pursuers with ruthless efficiency, for another.

Intelligent, hard hitting and brutal, Sweet Vengeance is highly recommended and the best modern western i've seen in ages.

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  #33  
Old 20th July 2016, 07:07 PM
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Sweet Vengeance (2013)

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  #34  
Old 21st July 2016, 07:29 PM
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Default Valdez Is Coming (1971)

Valdez Is Coming (1971)



Burt Lancaster dons the droopy Mexican moustache as Bob Valdez a local constable and all round good guy,but unfortunately for Bob he runs into Jon Cypher as Frank Tanner,a mean racist rich rancher who accuses a man of killing his friend (turns out Tanner is having an affair with dead mans wife). Valdez kills the accused man,but the man turns out to be innocent ,with the guilt of the man's death heavy on Valdez shoulders he decides to raise some money to help the widow.But seeing as the towns folk are unwilling to help him,they suggest he goes and sees Tanner,who not surprisingly is not to beneficial being bit of a shit.After a second attempt at trying to get money from Tanner goes a bit pear shaped,Valdez is crucified and made to walk out into the desert,that would certainly give the charity muggers in our city centre's something to think about. Bob is now on the warpath,digging out his old cavalry uniform and his biggest shotgun he kidnaps Tanner's woman,Susan Clark as Gay Erin.Based on a story by Elmore Leonard and directed by Edwin Sherin a man who mostly directed TV shows,Valdez is Coming is a nicely engaging story and well thought out revenge film,that said its underlying of theme racism is a little bit at odds when you have an American playing a Mexican.Not since Charlton Heston as Mike Vargas in Touch of Evil has there been such an odd bit of miscasting,but Burt Lancaster soldiers on with what can only be described as a rather patronising Mexican accent,and after a while you get use to his voice,although you half expect Basil Fawlty to wander into shot and slap Manuel,Er I mean Valdez across the head.What did surprise me was that this was filmed in Spain,using many locations Sergio Leone used,but I was unaware of this when watching the film,as it looked remarkably like good old USA to me.But that's where the similarities end,as the film lacks any real style of its own and like Burts moustache starts to get droopy toward the finale.
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  #35  
Old 21st July 2016, 07:52 PM
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I don't mind Valdez is Coming, although it is a lesser western as you say.

Am i thinking of the right one? Lancaster is told to talk a man out of his house and the bad men he's with shoot the poor fella leaving Burt distraught, even more so when they turn on him as well.
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Old 21st July 2016, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demdike@Cult Labs View Post
I don't mind Valdez is Coming, although it is a lesser western as you say.

Am i thinking of the right one? Lancaster is told to talk a man out of his house and the bad men he's with shoot the poor fella leaving Burt distraught, even more so when they turn on him as well.
yeah pretty much,I should say he gets even with Tanner at the end,but without killing him,just making him look like the big cowardly custard he is.If remade today they would get Danny Trejo to play Bob as his comedy Mexican is much more authentic.
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Old 23rd July 2016, 07:39 PM
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Default The Hunting Party (1971)

The Hunting Party (1971)

Brandt Ruger (Gene Hackman) is a sexually sadistic but rich cattle baron who isn't adverse to a bit sexual violence whether it is with his wife Melissa (Candice Bergen) or a train-full of prostitutes. Frank Calder (Oliver Reed) is the leader of a brutal gang of outlaws,who kidnap Melissa believing she is a school teacher (Frank Calder (Oliver Reed) wants to learn how to read,probably so he can look at his most wanted posters). Directed by Don Medford (19172012) who looking at his CV was another prolific TV director,his film The Hunting Party is another in those post Wild Bunch westerns where the line between the good guys and bad are blurry to say the least.Brandt Ruger (Gene Hackman) and his rich friends go after Reed and his gang with high powered rifles,hoping they can pick off the men from a far. Medford attempt at a western is fairly crass and about as subtle as kick in the tumble weed,it lacks the politics and sly humour of the spaghetti westerns and just gives us brutality for the sake of it,the film starts with a calf having his throat slit,Brandt Ruger (Gene Hackman) treats the men he kills with his hunting rifle like he was hunting game.While it has a great cast including Mitchell Ryan,Simon Oakland and L.Q. Jones to name but a few,there is not a likeable character amongst the lot of them,and even larger than life Olly Reed seems to give a fairly restrained performance instead of his usual bombastic self.Gene Hackman plays a nasty character not to dissimilar to the role of Mary Ann in the film Prime Cut (1972). One of the main problems is that there is very little in the way of tension or indeed credible action,while the slow mo death scenes might invoke The Wild Bunch,but it has none of its camaraderie or pathos you got from the characters fighting against insurmountable odds.Shame really as it could of been a damn better film,only real plus point is the great score by Riz Ortolani.
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  #38  
Old 23rd July 2016, 08:36 PM
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The Hunting Party has been in my wishlist for ages. I've never seen it but certainly want to even though you don't seem over keen on it.
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  #39  
Old 23rd July 2016, 11:28 PM
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Gun Fury (1953)

Originally shot in 3D, this revenge western stars Rock Hudson as a man left for dead as Phil Carey's murderous gang kidnap his wife.

Shot beautifully on location in Sedona, Arizona. (I've been twice to the area, Bell Rock as features in this film is a stunning western location of natural rocky beauty). Director Raoul Walsh's film is fairly typical western fodder but still involving and entertaining none the less.

Hudson, very much in his macho sex symbol days is fine and a Walsh regular, but doesn't really stand up when compared to the Wayne's, Stewart's, and Randolph Scott's of the era. In fact he could almost be accused of over acting in this one so bullish is his bravado.

Perhaps he felt the need to do so when pitted against the likes of Carey, Leo Gordon and Lee Marvin as he is here. Or maybe it's because he's desperate to save the lovely Donna Reed from these villains of the west.

There's a fair amount of gun play and range galloping, meaning that even the most jaded western watcher will still enjoy this routine but fun actioner.


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Old 24th July 2016, 05:35 PM
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Default 5 Card Stud (1968)

5 Card Stud (1968)

Dean Martin as Van Morgan is playing poker when one of the other players is accused of cheating by Roddy McDowall as Nick Evers,in the melee that follows the gambler is hanged and Morgan is knocked unconscious trying to stop the lynching. Morgan leaves the town of Rincon but eventually returns when he hears the rest of the men at the poker table are being killed off. Henry Hathaway who is no stranger to westerns,The Sons of Katie Elder (1965),Nevada Smith (1966) and True Grit (1969) and not to mention one of the best noirs of that era Kiss of Death (1947). It has to be said that 5 Card Stud (1968) is a slightly odd mixture of your traditional western mixed with a murder mystery angle. When Robert Mitchum as The Rev. Jonathan Rudd arrives in to town as the new preacher,you are kind of reminded of his role as Reverend Harry Powell in Charles Laughton's classic The Night of the Hunter,you kind of get the impression that this preacher has more than god on his mind.As the poker players are slowly killed off ,nothing to graphic here,except for the poor fellow who is tied to a post with barbed wire,which seems almost out of place for a western and more intone with a mid 80's horror film.5 card Stud is a genuine oddity,it has a great cast ,Dean Martin who may not be worlds best actor,but is so likeable and cool that he can pretty much getaway with anything.There's also an early screen appearance from Yaphet Kotto as Little George,the local bartender.And of course Robert Mitchum always gives value for money,especially if your in need of god fearing preacher type. 5 Card Stud is a hard film to categorise,if it had been directed by an Italian director the film would of turned into some sort of western giallo,a definite oddity but worthwhile watch.
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