Thursday, November 17, 2011

Billy the Kid (1941)

Director: David Miller

Starring: Robert Taylor, Brian Donlevy, Ian Hunter, Mary Howard, Gene Lockhart, Lon Chaney jr, Henry O'Neill

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The story of the West's most dangerous outlaw!

Plot: Billy Bonney is a hot-headed gunslinger who narrowly skirts a life of crime by being befriended and hired by a peaceful rancher, Eric Keating. When Keating is killed, Billy seeks revenge on the men who killed him, even if it means opposing his friend, Marshal Jim Sherwood.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

Don't dare watch this if you're looking for anything resembling a true account of Billy the Kid. There can't be much truth at all in this picture but that's not the reason to watch it. It's a pretty decent Western with some good performances (particularly the tough Robert Taylor as Billy) and GORGEOUS Arizona scenery.

I've never cared for Lon Chaney Jr but he actually turns in a good performance as a throw away heavy with only a couple of minutes of screen time.

As was standard for Westerns in the 40s, authentic Mexicans were hired...

My biggest complaint has to be the ending. Just after Billy gets his revenge he's shot and killed by his best friend, Jim. Well, that fucking sucks! It's not surprising as movies of this period couldn't have the bad guy live, especially after shooting a guy in the back but then they spent most of the picture showing Billy turning over a new leaf and leaving his lawless days behind him. Outside of that, it's definitely worth your while if you dig this sort of thing.


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