Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Monte Walsh (1970)

Director: William A. Fraker

Writers: Lukas Heller, David Zelag Goodman, Jack Schaefer

Composer: John Barry

Starring: Lee Marvin, Jeanne Moreau, Jack Palance, Mitchell Ryan, Jim Davis, G.D. Spradlin, John Hudkins, Raymond Guth, John McKee, Michael Conrad, Tom Heaton, Ted Gehring, Bo Hopkins, John McLiam, Richard Farnsworth, Roy Barcroft

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  Monte Walsh is what the West was all about.

Plot: An aging cowboy realizes that the West he knew and loved will soon be no more--and that there will be no room for him, either.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again?  Probably.

I'll watch just about any Western.  I'll definitely watch anything that Lee Marvin or Jack Palance are in, but the two of them together in a Western?  Done!  Holy carp this was good.  The performances are strong and it's great seeing Palance play a good guy for a change.  He's terrific.  He and Marvin have great chemistry together, to the point where you get a real sense that these two characters really are best friends and not play acting.  While it is fun and playful at times, it's also very sad.  It really hit me when Walsh (Marvin) steps just inside the doors of a saloon and there's no one in sight except for the barkeep cleaning the bar top.  Walsh, in a sense, has been abandoned.  The world around him is expanding and changing and it's leaving him behind.  It's a tragic picture that, probably better than any film I've seen, conveys the dying Old West in lieu of progress and change.  I love John Barry but his music in this picture is hit and miss.  The music doesn't fare as well when it's going for a happy mood but it's great when he's conveying the loneliness and sadness of Walsh's predicament.   Good flick.

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