Monday, June 20, 2016

Zachariah (1971)

Director: George Englund

Writers: Philip Austin, Peter Bergman, Hermann Hesse, Joe Massot, David Ossman, Phil Proctor

Composer: Jimmie Haskell

Starring: John Rubinstein, Patricia Quinn, Don Johnson, Country Joe and the FIsh, Elvin Jones, Doug Kershaw, William Challee, Robert Ball, Dick Van Patten, James Gang, White Lightnin', The New York Rock Ensemble, Peter Bergman, Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez, Lawrence Kubik, Country Joe McDonald, Barry Melton, Joe Walsh, Hank Worden

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A Head of His Time

Plot: Gunfights and electric guitars in the Old West? You bet! Zachariah gets a mail order gun, practices a little, and kills a man in the local saloon. He and his friend Matthew set out to become gunfighters, joining with the Crackers, a rock band who are also (pitifully inept) stage robbers. Having quickly outgrown that gang, Zachariah and Matthew set out to become bigtime gunslingers. Before long, they part company and a rivalry grows between them.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

What the fuck did I just watch?  It's like rock & roll hippies in the old west but that makes it sound a lot more fun and interesting than it actually is.  It is bizarre, I'll say that much.  A modern rock band existing in the 19th Century takes a minute to get used to but you adjust quickly.  Before I knew it, I was scratching my head wondering what the meaning of all of this is.  But, hey, it's got a super young Don Johnson in his second film.

How about that?  The story is simple enough but it's the shit surrounding it that's odd.  It's professionally made.  The camerawork is good and you can tell money was spent in all the right places.  The dialogue feels appropriate for what you see but it's just strange enough that someone had something deliberate to say...I just can't think of what that would be.  The performances work for what this is so it's not like a bunch of reefer dudes got their hands on a camera and made a movie.  It's not quite a dull film because of all the wacky shit that's going on and it does have some entertainment value but not much.  I kept hoping that the last act would provide some help in understanding why this picture might've been made but it didn't.  The MGM DVD has a great looking anamorphic widescreen print with no extras.  This picture could use someone explaining how this got made.  The entire film is still on YouTube.  Check it out if you're curious.

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