Friday, February 5, 2016

Bandolero! (1968)

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen

Writers: James Lee Barrett, Stanley Hough

Composer: Jerry Goldsmith

Starring: James Stewart, Dean Martin, Raquel Welch, George Kennedy, Andrew Prine, Will Geer, Clint Ritchie, Denver Pyle, Tom Heaton, Rudy Diaz, Sean McClory, Harry Carey Jr., Don 'Red' Barry, Guy Raymond, Perry Lopez, Jock Mahoney, Dub Taylor, Big John Hamilton, Robert Adler, John Mitchum, Patrick Cranshaw, Roy Barcroft, Joe Gray, Wade Phillips

More info: IMDb

Tagline: There are "Westerns" and "Westerns". Every now and then comes a NEW kind of Western. This is "BANDOLERO!".

Plot: Mace Bishop masquerades as a hangman in order to save his outlaw brother from the gallows, runs to Mexico chased by the sheriff's posse and fights against Mexican bandits.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  Maybe.

Great location shooting, great cast, great score, good movie.   The first half hour is a lot of fun with Mace (Stewart) secretly planning something that you know is going to good, the almost hanging and then the bank robbery.  Then act 2 starts with the Sheriff (Kennedy) and his posse going after the bad guys (it's nice, btw, seeing Stewart and Martin as outlaws for a change) and Mace and Dee (Martin) talk about their relationship in their past and their future.  Meanwhile Maria (Welch) pulls a weird move where she starts to dig on Dee even though he's partly responsible for killing her husband hours/days before.  Hell, I'd probably fall for Dean Martin, too, and my dick don't swing that way.   The location shooting (in Arizona and Utah) is drop dead gorgeous.  The Mexican bandidos subplot feels a little forced as if they only exist to cause chaos at the film's climax to kill off nearly all of the folks we've been following.  It's even more obvious as they all run away as soon as they see their leader is dead despite easily out-numbering the gringos 5 to 1 and winning the fight.  I did like who the film makers chose to keep alive.  I certainly didn't see that coming.  There's a lot to dig in this film but as a whole it feels like a little more attention could have been paid to working in the Mexican bandits as something more than a lazy plot device and a little more attention paid to fleshing out the budding romance.  It's remarkable how a few days in movie life is all it takes to fall for someone.  Maybe it's being in an extraordinary circumstance and forced to deal with death.  Still, it's a fun flick and the cast goes a long way in making it so.  Geez I want to move back out West to live out my days.  Mmmmm.

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