Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Man in the Wilderness (1971)

Director: Richard C. Sarafian

Writer: Jack DeWitt

Composer: Johnny Harris

Starring: Richard Harris, John Huston, Henry Wilcoxon, Percy Herbert, Dennis Waterman, Prunella Ransome, Sheila Raynor, Norman Rossington, James Doohan, Bryan Marshall, Ben Carruthers, Robert Russell, John Bindon

More info: IMDb

Tagline: He was left for dead. He would not forget.

Plot: In the early 1800's, a group of fur trappers and Indian traders are returning with their goods to civilisation and are making a desperate attempt to beat the oncoming winter. When guide Zachary Bass is injured in a bear attack, they decide he's a goner and leave him behind to die. When he recovers instead, he swears revenge on them and tracks them and their paranoiac expedition leader down.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

Again, I knew nothing of this going in.  Richard Harris is in frontiersman clothes and it's the early 19th Century.  5 minutes in he's attacked by a bear.  This is starting to feel familiar.  A few days earlier I saw THE REVENANT (2015) in the theater (I'm very late with this review) and then it hits me that this was a true story and this film was probably an earlier telling of it.  Yup.  It is.  It's neat seeing two different takes on the same story so many years apart.  This one has lots of flashbacks for Zarchary (Harris) which often feel like there are too many and they linger on.  This film is at times quiet, artsy and meditative but it's also rather slow going.  It's good and it's worth watching but more so if you've seen THE REVENANT to compare it to.  Just know that it's not as compelling as it should be and it does drag frequently.  Harris is good and it's nice that he's not over acting as he could easily do. The Warner Bros. DVD I have presents the film in anamorphic widescreen with no extras.  It's on a flipper disc with THE DEADLY TRACKERS (1973).

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