Monday, February 22, 2016

Chisum (1970)

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen

Writer: Andrew J. Fenady

Composer: Dominic Frontiere

Starring: John Wayne, Forrest Tucker, Christopher George, Ben Johnson, Glenn Corbett, Andrew Prine, Bruce Cabot, Patric Knowles, Richard Jaeckel, Lynda Day George, Geoffrey Deuel, Pamela McMyler, John Agar, Lloyd Battista, Robert Donner, John Mitchum, Pedro Armendariz Jr., Christopher Mitchum, William Conrad

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  THE LEGEND - John Wayne is "Chisum"

Plot: Cattle baron John Chisum joins forces with Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett to fight the Lincoln County land war.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

I've seen very little of John Wayne's pictures in the last thirty years.  I like the guy but he generally played just one type of character and I guess you could simply classify that as playing John Wayne.  The great thing about it is it works great for Westerns but not so much in modern day.  While this film might have some basis in actual history, I got the impression that almost the entire film was one big exercise and making shit up for the sake of making an entertaining film.  It is fun.  It's got a great cast and everyone does a fine job.  Tucker plays a great villain and a great antagonist to Wayne's good guy.  SPOILERS ON THE RANGE....YARRRRR!!!  I've got a couple of beefs with the film.  The first is after Billy the Kid (Deuel doing a fine job of it) kills the two deputies and then the sheriff.  Murphy (Tucker) is completely justified in his actions as Billy worked for Chisum (Wayne) even though he acted on his own and in no way involved Chisum.  But no one else would know that.  As far as anyone not associated with Chisum was concerned, Billy was still working for Chisum and could've acted on his belhalf.  Murphy was an asshole and a bad man but he was on the right side of the law.  The other thing was herding the cows through town as the only option Chisum & pals had. Chisum was warned the town was blocked off but it was only a small portion of the main street that was barricaded. Chisum could have done any number of things to easily get around it.  I get why it was done.  The stampede created something easy and exciting for the climax of the picture.  That's the only reason.  I understand but the moment I started thinking about it, the moment the plot just fell apart.  It's still a fun movie.  I'd almost be inclined to say I'd watch it again but there are a ton more Westerns (and some JW pictures) that I've yet to see and those will have to take precedence.  Now if this shows up in a theater somewhere, consider my ass in the seat with corn & Coke ready to go.  The Warner Bros.  DVD anamorphic widescreen print looks fantastic.  The only non-text extras you get are a commentary from McLaglen and the theatrical trailer (anamorphic widescreen).

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