Archive for the ‘Classic Movie Review’ Category

cape-fearSo this is kind of weird for me. I saw this movie a couple of months ago and started writing a review where I was telling you how God awful bored I was at watching this supposed thriller.  But I didn’t finish the review and now its two months later and so I decided to watch this movie again so I could refresh my memory and I found it to be not as horrible as the first time I watched.  It is still bad but not as bad as I thought.

After serving 8 years in prison for assault and battery, Max Cady , played by Robert Mitchum (The Longest Day,) tracks down Sam Bowden, played by Gregory Peck (To Kill a Mockingbird,)who Cady personally blames for being in jail because Bowden intervened during the attack and testified against him.  Once Bowden realizes Cady is in town it becomes a game of cat and mouse as Cady stalks Bowden and his family but makes sure to never cross the line and break the law or gets caught breaking the law.  Bowden begins to lose his grasp of right and wrong as the family dog is poisoned and his daughter Nancy is hit by a car running away from Bowden.    Bowden decides to set a trap for Cady on a house boat on Cape Fear River where he can take care of Cady once and for all.


Expectations are a funny thing.  When I watched this film for the first time I had high expectations because back in the early 1990’s I remembered the hype of the remake of this film and all I heard was how intense it was and how much of a bad ass Robert Mitchum was as Cady.  As I was watching the movie for the first time I was stunned at how slow the pace was from the beginning.  It reminds me of what my movie cohort Benn Farrell usually says about all of these movies made before the 1960’s.  Many of the scenes looked as if it was shot on a theater production stage as opposed to an actual movie stage.  The only time we had any wide shots were when there were scenes shot outside.  Almost all of the inside shots were close up shots that just give you the feeling that they are shooting in a box.  One of my biggest issues with this production was the use of the music in the film.  When I first heard it during the opening credits and establishing shot I was thinking that this was perfect mood music to set the movie up.  The only problem is that it seems like the music never disappears.  It got so bad that the more I heard it I was saying to myself, “Here comes the bad guy about to do bad things.”    The use of music reminded me of movies from the 1940’s on how music was used to set the music of every scene.  The last thing I will say about the production is that I know that this movie was made in 1962 but we never really saw the character Cady do bad things until the final act when he killed a cop in a stakeout.  Other than that, we heard a lot about how bad a man he was, and when he was about to do something bad in the movie, like beat up the woman he picked up at the local bar in his apartment, we see the girl look at Cady who has malicious intent in his eyes and she gets up to run…somewhere…and he grabs her as she grabs a swinging door and then all we see are shadows moving beyond the swinging door.   Mind you this entire time there is menacing bad guy music the ENTIRE time.  No words are spoken at all.  I know he is a bad guy but something to prove it in the beginning would be nice other than stories and mean music.

Despite the fact that the music was in the way and the production didn’t help, Robert Mitchum was still pretty awesome as the bad guy Cady.  He was menacing without the music and was very believable as a person who would appear to hate women in general.  Gregory Peck was pretty awesome as the desperate lawyer who wanted to protect his family.  I would say that the acting overall was pretty good.  I will say that with the exception of Mitchum the rest of the actors seemed to almost pantomime their acting.  I guess what I mean is that during the many times that there were no speaking parts and the camera was just panning between the actors only Mitchum seemed to be acting with his body and the rest, especially the ladies, all looked like either angry or shocked mannequins.


I mentioned earlier that when I had high expectations for this movie I thought it was painfully slow and it was.  I kept waiting to see this suspenseful thriller about a killer stalking a family instead I go a slow and slumbering story about a guy who was more creeping on the young daughter and less scary stalker.  I will say that the costume department did a wonderful job of making a 15 year old girl look 1960’s naughty and by that I mean she was constantly wearing short skin tight shorts as well as a tight blouse…almost all the time.  By our standards today that would be nun-like but in 1962 that is terrible.  So the creeper factor was there every time Cady was looking at her in bad ways.  But it still didn’t make up for the slow pace of the film.  Basically every time Cady would do something to taunt Bowden there would be a 10 minute discussion as to what to do about it.  It got tiresome after an hour.

Lastly I will say that I also mentioned that the second time I watched this film and with no expectations I was able to pay attention to it more.  I can’t tell you why other than I kept thinking that the first time I saw this film it left such a bad taste in my mouth that I thought it was worse than it was and that’s on me.  There are a lot worse films from this time period but it just wasn’t as awesome as I was expecting.


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mrsmithThose of you who know me know that even though I run the accounting department where I work, I actually have a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. Since my movie cohort Benn Farrell and I decided to make October reviews theme Presidential movies in honor of this horrendous Presidential election, I decided my Classic Movie Review would be a movie that many of my High School teachers and college Professors of Political Science told me to see, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.  I can see why a Political Science teacher would want someone to see this movie because even though it is extremely dated it does have some relative points to make even in today’s political landscape.

Jefferson Smith, played by Jimmy Stewart (It’s a Wonderful Life,) is the leader of a rural outdoor boys organization in a unnamed American state when he is appointed by the Governor to be one of the two US Senator of his state when the sitting Senator dies.  What Smith doesn’t know is that a local businessman named Jim Taylor, played by Edward Arnold (Meet John Doe,) has bribed the Governor and the other sitting Senator, Joseph Paine, played by Claude Rains (Casablanca,) to propose a bill in the US Senate that includes money to build a dam that is profitable to Taylor and Smith was sent to Washington to be an unknowing supporter of the bill by just doing what Paine tells him.  However, Paine, Taylor and the Governor weren’t planning for is Smith’s assistant Saunders, played by Jean Arthur (Shane,) who was the original Senators assistant, to fall for his innocence and his wholesome beliefs of what the country stands for, and tells Smith exactly what is going on.  When Smith tries to tell his fellow Senators what is going on, Paine turns on him and tries to get Smith kicked out of the Senate.  Smith must try to not only save his job but also convince the Senate that he is telling the truth and Paine is lying about the dam.

So my biggest problem with the movie is the story and the unnecessary…oh how do I say it…filmmaking choices by legendary director Frank Capra.  I’ll start by explaining the last half of the previous sentence.  When I mean filmmaking choices I mean the style that was in use during this time in that there is a scene in the film that is puts together a montage of location scenes to set the mood of the moment or the character of the individual or the theme of the movie.  In this movie we have a scene just like this.  The story sets up this scene earlier by showing our dear Mr. Smith at a rally where he shows how patriotic he is, how he believes in the purity of the Constitution, and his naivety at how this process works.   Later we see him arrive at a train station in Washington DC and his handler quickly loses him.  There is great consternation about where he has gone and what has happened to him.  Well never fear movie watchers as Frank Capra takes us on the journey with Mr. Smith.  What the viewer gets is about 3 minutes and 18 seconds I think (I wrote it down but lost the paper,) of a montage of Washington DC landmarks with a heavy emphasis on the Lincoln Memorial.  Wow.  Just Wow.  I know that this movie was made in 1939 and most of the country could not just get in the car and take the family on a trip to DC.  It was the depression after all.  But however long this montage is it is too much. I feel that this montage also tries to show how patriotic the film is supposed to be but I already get that feeling from the title of the movie and the first 15 minutes.  This is a minor issue but it leads into the biggest drawback of the movie which is the unfulfilling ending.  The ending, spoiler alert…as if you were going to watch this, has Mr. Smith going on a marathon filibuster in the Senate to keep the vote from happening on whether or not to kick him out of the Senate.   He is trying to convince the Senate that the bill that is to be voted on is a fraudulent one that needs to be stopped.  As Smith becomes fatigued he is able to finally get Senator Paine to admit that everything Smith has been saying is right.  The rest of the Senate has gotten out of their seats to charge at Paine who is acting crazy while Smith has passed out from exhaustion at this point.  Do we get to see what happens? Do we get to see Taylor crushed and arrested?  Do we see the aftermath of the confession and Paine sent away and Smith Vindicated?  Do we see get to see Saunders and Smith give each other that big Hollywood hug and kiss that happens at the end of these movies?  Nope.  Paine goes looney on the Senate floor, he is rushed, Smith is carried out with a smiling Saunders looking from above, fade to black, then end.  Now here is where my two issues combine.  Maybe, just maybe, if we had only a 30 second patriotic montage at the beginning, we can take those 2+ minutes and put them at the end of the film, to see what happens.  But no, let’s give us a 3 minute montage of DC and leave us wondering what happens at the end.  Don’t like it.

The acting is superb in the film with Stewart leading the way.  He has the deer in head lights look of innocence anyway so its not hard for him to be a naïve country boy in the big city.  But his big filibuster speech is pretty amazing.  He also works well with leading lady Jean Arthur who herself has a pretty funny scene where she is drunk off her ass in a bar.  However I will say that I just don’t buy that these two, Smith and Saunders, would fall in love with each other that fast.  But it’s Hollywood and we need a love story in our movies.

As much as I bagged on the story earlier above, it is also very good for a few reasons.  The writer, and maybe director, did a great job of keeping this political movie non-political.  What I mean by that is that we don’t know from what state Smith comes from.  We don’t know the political affiliations of the good or bad guys in the film.  If a remake of this movie is made today I would bet you my next 10 paychecks that the corrupted members were Republicans and the good and honest politicians were Democrats.  Hollywood has changed a lot in 80 years.  The reason that this movie is a timeless classic is the issues in this movie are not dated and could work today.  Oh sure the main story of the building of dam by a corrupt businessman would have to change but the story itself is what remains the same.  Change the dam with Benghazi or email servers or bankrupt hotels and you have yourself a movie take from today’s absolutely horrible headlines.  The only problem for this movie I see is that it would be very difficult to find a non-partisan naïve individual who just believes in the founding fathers and the Constitution to play the part of Smith in this day and age.  Most of one party wants to get rid of the damn thing (Progressives…I’m speaking to you.  Yes you.)  I also will say that despite the ending that I complain about, the story keeps me involved and I want to see how it ends.

I can see why my political science professors and teachers wanted me to see this film.  It is a good film on how the politics of this country, both good and bad, work.  If you decide to see this film realize that it is dated and most of it is shot in a style that is like putting a camera inside a playhouse and watching a theater production of Mr. Smith goes to Washington but that is just the era in which this movie is made.  I can say that this is the first Jimmy Stewart movie I have watched where he was the star and I can see why he is considered an amazing actor for his generation.  I need to see more of his films.

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dayearthI remember watching surfer dude’s (Keanu Reeves) version of this movie and it was absolutely horrible. At the time I had no desire to see the original because I have never been a fan of the 1950’s Science Fiction movies.  But as I have become a little older I have been more open to seeing most movies.  So needing a classic review and this being Disaster Movie month I opened up my Amazon Prime and picked this Sci Fi classic.

A Flying Saucer comes from an unknown destination and lands at a park near the National Mall in Washington DC.  An alien named Klaatu, played by Michael Rennie (The Devil’s Brigade,) walks out of the spaceship and is almost immediately shot by a jittery American Soldier.  Klaatu is taken to Walter Reed hospital where he is treated and he meets a representative of the US government.  Klaatu states that he has a message for the world and will only say the message to all of the world leaders at once.  Quickly he discovers that the paranoia and distrust of the world’s leaders makes this impossible so he sneaks out of the hospital and explores the area so he can determine if he should continue to with the message or leave and destroy the Earth.

It’s almost silly to say that this movie is dated but for a lack of better words, this movie is dated.  The movie is a statement on the fears of the time at the beginning cold war and the development of atomic weapons.  It’s impossible for any kid after 1980 to imagine living in a world where information only comes in TV and Radio news and the newspaper the next day.  But that is the world in the 1950’s and the movie also plays that up that fact.  The people don’t have enough information about what is going on so in gathering places they are gossiping and they are constantly going to the worst possible place instead of keeping an open mind.  In this movie the only person who is the example of an open mind is Helen Benson, played by Patricia Neal (Breakfast at Tiffany’s.)  The point is being made that just because you don’t know what’s going on doesn’t mean that the unknown is bad.

The constant usage of establishing shots in the film is very common in 1950’s films and highly annoying for the modern viewer.  Nothing is more exciting than watching a bunch of police cars leave a police station and lots of military vehicles leave a military base, including a couple of tanks turning so hard and fast that they almost skid out, when just before we had a scene where we watch a radio journalist read that the police and military are mobilizing to the area where the spaceship is located.  There is another scene where Klaatu is an elevator with Helen and the power goes out and Klaatu explains that this is an orchestrated event worldwide by him.  So the movie then goes to show a half dozen places worldwide where the power is out as if to confirm what he says.  I would love to have seen more conversation between Klaatu and Helen in the elevator but we don’t get that.  Which is the second time when the movie decided to go with establishing shots or voice over instead of showing us what its talking about.  The first was when we see Klaatu and Walter Reed and a soldier locks him in his room and we see Klaatu smile.  The next scene we see a nurse try to bring food to him and we see the room is empty.  We then get to see a montage of newspapers and newsmen saying he escaped with parents bringing their children indoors and policemen scatter to their cars and finally seeing Klaatu walk down the street observing thing.  Instead I would have loved to have seen how he got out of the secured room but that is a mystery that we will never know.

The special effects were typical for the 1950’s which isn’t horrible considering the era but they do a horrible job of the suit for the robot Gort.  Its way to obvious that it’s a fabric suit even though they say its metallic and you can see the seams where the zippers are located.  But to give them credit the appearing and disappearing doors and steps on the flying saucer were done well I thought.  Oh and while the music helped inspire Danny Elfman to become a composer the use of the Theremins in the film was beyond annoying for me.

Despite all of these issues the movie did keep me hooked until the end because I wanted to see what Klaatu had to say to the world.  So after an hour and twenty minutes of film we finally get the final scene where he finally gets to talk to the world and instead of giving us an Academy Award like acceptance speech on the dangers the plane Earth with have if it pursues its atomic militarization he gives us a short POW trained response message to being held captive by basically saying that if the people of Earth bring atomic weapons to outer space the rest of the universe will come destroy the planet to keep interstellar safety intact.  He then gets in his spaceship and leaves, the end, and very anticlimactic and unrewarding for 80 minutes of buildup.

I can see why this is a classic and for me it’s a decent film that did have me interested in the outcome, as unfulfilling as it was.  This film is 1000 times better than the remake 50+ years later so if you are stuck seeing one or the other I say watch this one and try to imagine a time when there were only 3 TV stations that were off the air by midnight every night and the only place to get information was the library.  It makes you think how lucky, and in some aspects, unlucky we are to live in the world we live in now.



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greenberetsThis is the kind of war movie that people like Oliver Stone can not stand. In fact I imagine this is the kind of movie that got him into movies in the first place and wanted to give his version of the Vietnam War when he made Platoon.    The Green Berets is a movie that is what I would consider the last hurrah of the Hollywood old guard where you create movies supporting whatever military action the government is involved in to try and inspire patriotism and loyalty to the government and its effort in the war.

Col. Mike Kirby, played by John Wayne (Sons of Katie Elder,) is in charge of a group of Green Berets stationed in Da Nang, South Vietnam.  He leads a group of men into combat into different areas of South Vietnam while babysitting a newspaper journalist, George Beckworth, played by David Janssen (Inchon,) who believes that the United States has no business being involved in the civil war in Vietnam.  Kirby believes that his experience in Vietnam will change his view.

The reason why I mentioned that this was one of the last war movies made by the Hollywood old guard is that by the time this movie was released in 1968 the public opinion in the war in Vietnam had changed due to the fall out of the Tet Offensive in 1968.  The movie was made the year before by John Wayne because he was not happy with the anti-war sentiment in the United States at that time.  During World War II Wayne had made a few movies about the heroism of the military men in the war and it was the duty of all Americans to get behind then and the government.  By the 1960’s the sentiment in the country had changed due to the Korean War and the assassinating of President Kennedy.   Some would say that America grew up and no longer needed to be rallied by Hollywood propaganda films.  Others would argue that America started on its long path to progressivism where the best thing to do is to destroy any since of pride in the country.  But this conversation is for another blog.

Anyway, if you can look past the obvious pro war sentiment that this movie is putting out, the performances weren’t half bad.  The best of the bunch were Jim Hutton (Major Dundee,) who played Sgt. Petersen, and who happens to be the real life father of actor Timothy Hutton, and Capt. Nim, played by George Takei (Star Trek: The Motion Picture.)  Those two stood out the best in what would be considered standard acting for movies of this genre in this time.  It is cool to see Takei in something other than a Star Trek uniform.


The story is pretty straight forward and of course is pretty sappy with the pro- war sentiment.  The story goes out of its way to show how North Vietnam was being supplied by the Soviet Union, Communist China, and other communist countries (basically President Obama’s preferred travel destinations,) in their “civil war.”  When the story revolves around the action of the war there is a lot of heavy handed dialogue about how horrible the Viet Cong are to people who don’t agree with them and paint the US Soldiers as the protectors of all.  It’s kind of ridiculous on many levels but balances out the future Vietnam War films made by Oliver Stone and others.

The action in the film is cool to watch but by today’s standards quite tame.  The movie commits many sins that I have about war films including men getting shot and instead of falling down they spin and throw their guns in the air and kneel then fall.  When a shell goes off close by a group of men they all jump as high as they can and do a somersault in the air and fall down dead.  But this is standard for 1960’s war movies.

The Green Berets is the last hurrah for Hollywood films that blindly show faith and loyalty to the American Military and its government involving war.  If you want to watch a movie that is pure pro-war, pro-American propaganda, with some decent acting and iconic Hollywood actors, then by all means watch this film.  If you are a fan of the movie Platoon or anything made by Michael Moore or if you voted for President Obama, then skip this film, it will only want you to go out and burn the flag that much faster.


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sergeantyorkWhen I picked this movie to watch I was hoping to see some scenes that would show some of the trench warfare that was defined warfare in the western front of World War I. I knew a little bit about Sergeant York just from doing some basic reading about the American Army in World War I.  I knew he won the Congressional Medal of Honor for almost single handedly capturing 100 or so German soldiers.  When I finally watched this film I ended up finding out more about York’s past leading up to the war and very little about the actual war itself.

Alvin York, played by Gary Cooper (High Noon,) is a county farmer in the south along the border between Tennessee and Kentucky.  Alvin struggles with alcoholism and while he is a God fearing man, like almost all of the people in his area, he hasn’t come to terms with his faith.  He meets a woman named Gracie, played by Joan Leslie (High Sierra,) and realizes he is going to have to change his ways if he wants to earn her love.  He quits drinking and dives into his farm with the hope of buying the field next to his which is much more suitable for farming.  When he is shot just a few dollars, he challenges local hunters to a shooting contest and wins only to find out the farmer had sold the field already.  Alvin gets drunk and looks to take revenge on the farmer who sold the land but in a huge thunderstorm Alvin is stuck by lightning and instead of killing him it destroys his rifle.  He believes it’s a message from God and he embraces his faith all the way.  As he begins his life with God and looks to start it with Gracie he is informed by town Pastor Pile, played by Walter Brennan (To Have and Have Not,) that he is drafted into the Army.  Despite his attempts to get exempt as a consciousness objector to violence based on his religious beliefs, he is drafted and forced to go.  Once in the Army he comes to grips with his job as a soldier and with God and goes on to great glory in the Army.

I was hoping that we were going to get a lot about York in the military.  Obviously by my ridiculously long story description the story concentrates more on his life leading up to the military.  I suppose that is important but for me the movie was an odd combination of really slow and borderline boring to unknowingly entertaining.  I found the story slowly dragging and with it being produced in pre-World War II America still in the Great Depression, the movie had that look of a theatrical production put to screen.  I will say that I was impressed with how the production design looked authentic even though it was clearly inside a studio.  The scenes with York and the minister while he is plowing look clearly like they are in a studio yet York is talking to the minister while he is plowing a rocky field.  The field was real with actual dirt and heavy looking rocks.  Now some scenes where shot outside and almost all of the military were shot outside so that helped but when they did shoot inside I thought the production was as good as could be.

The only real combat shown in the move was the battle at which he won the Medal of Honor.  As much as I was looking forward to seeing it was a very 1940’s sterile version of combat with lots of men spinning and falling as they get shot.  Plus it looked like many of the edits were of the same scene but from different camera angles.  That being said the battle itself isn’t as horrible as I make it sound and I hate to make it an excuse but this is the 1940’s so I shouldn’t expect a lot.  Plus since I do not believe anyone has tried to remake or tell this story in the last 50 + years this is all we got.  I included a link that shows the 10 minute battle in the film.

Gary Cooper won the Academy Award for Best Actor in this film and I can completely understand why he got it.  I haven’t seen a lot of other movies from 1941.  OK, actually I have seen only one other, but Cooper really had his part nailed down.  He played the role of the borderline uneducated hillbilly from Tennessee honestly and respectfully, especially for the time.  In today’s Hollywood hillbillies from the South are usually played way over the top.  Cooper pretty much dominated every scene he was in with the other actors, not to take anything away from them.  I will say that Walter Brennan also did an excellent job and both he and Cooper seemed to play off of each other very well.

If you are a historian like me who likes military history in particular this should be a movie on your bucket list.  I don’t think you need to add it to your collection or spend any money on renting it.  Just wait until it comes out on Turner Classic Movie channel or some other classic channel and you will eventually find it.  Or wait until it’s free on Netflix or Amazon Prime.  Sergeant York is a moderately entertaining yet incredibly dated movie.


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sonsofkatieelder***This is an old review being transferred from the old website to the blog.***


It seemed like for the first sixty years of Hollywood, action movies and westerns went hand in hand. These western’s established many actors as mainstay in film.  Arguably the first true action hero was created from these westerns and his name was John Wayne.   He was an old school actor for these old school films and if you don’t like this particular style of movie, which dominated Hollywood for many, many years, then you won’t like this.

John Wayne (Hatari!) stars as John Elder, who is the son of a woman who has died and comes back to town to come to the funeral.  There he meets up with his three brothers who all were gone from home and discover that there father was shot in the back and murdered and their mother had the family ranch stolen from them.  The four boys then go on a mission to find out who did these crimes and why the town folk are hiding it from them.

The movie is shot with lots of wide angles and profile shots that dominated film making in the day.  There are no special effects in the movie but lots of stunt acting on horses and of course, gun fights.  These movies also, for the most part, have the same general premise.  There is a person, usually female, in danger, and the hero comes back into town and kills the bad man responsible.

This story does keep me interested from the very beginning in trying to follow the brothers in their search for who is the bad guy.  Of course, we know who the bad guy is so the suspense is not in the who but in the how for the hero’s.  The story does fall apart during the climatic scene when John faces the bad guy, Morgan Hastings, played by James Gregory (The Main Event) and he kills him by blowing up his store, with him in it,  original ending but somewhat boring.

This cast also has Dean Martin (Ocean’s 11,) a very young Dennis Hopper, and George Kennedy (The Naked Gun) as the hired gunman to protect Hastings.  There is nothing exceptional with the acting and at times it is somewhat cheesy.  However, this does follow suit with this style of movie.

If you are not a fan of the old westerns or of John Wayne, then you will not like this movie.  I liked the movie but the ending was too anti-climatic for such a stud that was John Wayne.  I am not trying to make excuses for him, but he insisted that he did his own stunts and he was just coming of surgery that removed parts of his cancerous lung, so he couldn’t do much. Unfortunately John died ten years later due to Lung Cancer.  I say go ahead and see the movie, you may like it.

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Before Clint Eastwood became Dirty Harry in the 1970’s he was a western movie actor who made famous many a “spaghetti” western. Spaghetti westerns are a bunch of movies made by Italian directors that portrayed stories in the North American old west.  I would argue that the most famous of these movies are what’s called the “Dollars Trilogy” which are: Fistful of Dollars (1964,) For A Few Dollars More (1965,) and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966.)  Eastwood up to this point had been acting in TV shows mostly up to this point in and his career finally took off in this trilogy playing the character that became known as Man with No Name.   For me Spaghetti westerns style was one where there aren’t a whole lot of lines in the script and the music tells the story more than the lines.  Now things are a little cheesy, ok a lot cheesy, with extreme close ups and bad one liners.  But these movies gave us the bad ass that is Clint Eastwood.  I mention all of this because Hang’Em High is considered one of the first American made spaghetti western in that it has all of the traits of those styles of movies and had Clint Eastwood acting in it.

The story goes that former law man and now wannabe rancher Jed Cooper, played by Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby) becomes the victim of a lynching when a group of 6 men who believe that Cooper stole the cattle in his possession and killed the owner.  The group takes the law into their own hands and hangs Cooper from a tree out in the prairie.  Though Cooper is left for dead he is saved by a Territory Marshall and taken in chains to the territory capital where he is going to stand trial.  However, he is brought to Judge Fenton, played by Pat Hingle (Batman,) and Fenton tells Cooper that he is free because the man who did the actually stealing and killing and selling of cattle to Cooper was caught and confessed.  Cooper is unhappy that those who did the lynching are free so the Judge makes him a Marshall and Cooper heads out to hunt them down.

Well I just explained the first third of the movie and there isn’t a whole lot to the rest of it and the rest of it doesn’t really make sense.  The judge, played by Hingle who most people will recognize as Commissioner Gordon from the Tim Burton Batman movies, is a hanging judge and the story goes out of its way to make a big spectacle of the hangings.  The spectacle is so large that it rubs Cooper’s character the wrong way.  Now if this movie was made in the last ten years Cooper would have used his outrage to change everything.  This is not going to happen in the 1960’s.

As much as I appear to be bagging on the movie, I do enjoy most of it because it is a nice adaptation of a spaghetti western.  The action scenes are fun.  The gunfights are very typical for this generation of westerns because its lots of standing still and shooting at each other.  Plus right before the shooting we usually get the glorious one liner’s.

An odd thing is that the love interest Rachel, played by Inger Stevens (A Time For Killing,) has a tragic tale of loss and violence but instead of getting our hero to chase after the bad guy who harmed our woman, we do, nothing? It’s a different approach.

Plus we do have Clint being a badass in it.  Overall despite the plot issues it is an entertaining movie and its fun to see a very young looking Clint Eastwood.  Also you get to see a young Bruce Dern (Django Unchained) and Alan Hale who is the skipper from Gilligan’s Island.  If you happen to catch on Turner Classic or Encore Western and you haven’t seen the real spaghetti westerns, have a seat and enjoy the silliness that ensues.

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