Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Man Called Sledge (1970)

Director: Vic Morrow & Giorgio Gentili

Starring: James Garner, Dennis Weaver, Claude Akins, John Marley, Laura Antonelli

More info: IMDb

Tagline: When SLEDGE hits town it stays hit!

Plot: James Garner is Luther Sledge, the leader of a pack of rebels who are planning to steal a stash of gold. But after the thieves actually manage to get away with the bounty, they soon discover that the enemy lies within their midst. As they begin to bicker over who should get the biggest cut, the stage is set for a deadly showdown.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

#129 on Drive-In Delirium Volume 2 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

If the only Western persona you've seen of James Garner is the one like he had as Brett Maverick, the likable, playful gambler, then you're in for a real treat. To the best of my knowledge (there are two Westerns he did in the late 60s I haven't seen that could qualify) this is his grittiest and dirtiest Western. SLEDGE is a Spaghetti Western which means it's going to be edgier than the Hollywood output of the day. Garner is tough and weather-worn. He wants that gold and he'll do anything to get it, including cheat his own men.

James Garner as Luther Sledge

Dennis Weaver as Erwin Ward

And John Marley as the old man. Recognize him? He's the guy from THE GODFATHER (1972) who wakes up with a horse head in his bed.

I really dig this one but there are a couple of things that get to me. One is Gianni Ferrio's annoying score (oh, how this picture could've benefited from something by Ennio Morricone or Bruno Nicolai) and the other is the disjointedness of the overall picture. I'd swear I read many years ago that this flick started with one director and ended with another. Knowing that you can sense a change about halfway in. It's not a deal killer but it does affect the picture. Still...it's a good one and Garner fans and fans of the genre need to see it.

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