Monday, February 2, 2015

The White Buffalo (1977)

Director: J. Lee Thompson

Writer: Richard Sale

Composer: John Barry

Starring: Charles Bronson, Jack Warden, Will Sampson, Kim Novak, Clint Walker, Stuart Whitman, Slim Pickens, John Carradine, Cara Williams, Shay Duffin, Clifford A. Pellow, Douglas Fowley, Ed Lauter, Martin Kove

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Two legendary enemies unite to fight the charging white beast!!

Plot:  Wild Bill Hickok hunts a white buffalo he has seen in a dream. Hickok moves through a variety of uniquely authentic western locations - dim, filthy, makeshift taverns; freezing, slaughterhouse-like frontier towns and beautifully desolate high country - before improbably teaming up with a young Indian named Crazy Horse to pursue the creature.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes but reluctantly.

#66 on Project: Badass Charles Bronson

LEVEL OF BADASSICITY (10 being the highest): 7.  He's so badass that he frightens the titular buffalo to be killed in a most gruesome fashion...and LIKE it!!!  Such sacrifices are sometimes required when in the presence of Bronson.

Bronson = Badass! He doesn't say much...he doesn't have to.

This is one weird as fuck western.  The story is odd, filming most of it in a sound stage is bizarre and it doesn't play out like you'd think.  It's filled with some great character actors that get their one scene to shine and get out.  The last half of the picture has only Bronson, Warden and Sampson in the snowy wilderness.  I can totally understand how the indoor shooting (for the exterior) would turn viewers off with a bellyful of laughter.  It's pretty bad and I'm very forgiving when it comes to stuff like that.  That's one of the reasons that I'm going to give this picture another chance somewhere down the road and I bet that perhaps it was done like that to project the dreamlike quality of it all.  John Barry's score is very different from what he usually did and that's pretty neat-o in my book. It's good and does a nice job of carrying the mystery of the film.   The effect of the stampeding white buffalo gets an extraordinary amount of mileage.  It looks like that second or two of footage gets at least six minutes throughout the picture.  In a weird way I kind of liked the awkwardness of the whole production.  I'm really curious as to how and why some of the production decisions were made.  I caught this on Netflix.  The DVD looks like it's an MGM burn-on-demand disc so it's probably bupkiss for extras.  If you're looking for something different in this genre then look no further. 

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