Film Review – THE LAST HARD MEN (1976)

THE LAST HARD MEN (1976, USA) **½
Western
dist. Twentieth Century Fox; pr co. Twentieth Century Fox; d. Andrew V. McLaglen; w. Guerdon Trueblood (based on the novel “Gun Down” by Brian Garfield); pr. Walter Seltzer, Russell Thacher; ph. Duke Callaghan (DeLuxe. 35mm. Panavision. 2.35:1); m. Jerry Goldsmith; ed. Fred A. Chulack; ad. Edward C. Carfagno; rel. 23 April 1976 (USA), 18 May 1976 (UK); BBFC cert: X; r/t. 98m.
cast: Charlton Heston (Sam Burgade), James Coburn (Provo), Barbara Hershey (Susan Burgade), Christopher Mitchum (Hal Brickman), Jorge Rivero (Menendez), Michael Parks (Noel Nye), Larry Wilcox (Shelby), Thalmus Rasulala (Weed), Morgan Paull (Shiraz), John Quade (Gant), Robert Donner (Lee Roy), Sam Gilman (Dutch Vestal), James Bacon (Deputy Jetfore), Riley Hill (Gus), Dick Alexander (Bo Simpson), Yolanda Schutz (Paloma), Alberto Piña (Storekeeper), David Herrera (Indian Policeman).
Violent and often unpleasant revenge Western, which benefits from strong production values. In 1909 Arizona, Heston is a retired lawman whose life is thrown upside-down when his old enemy (Coburn) and six other convicts escape a chain-gang in the Yuma Territorial Prison and come gunning for him, kidnapping his daughter (Hershey) in the bargain. Lots of bloody action and some by-line comments on the passing of the old west without the subtlety of touch to elegantly land the message. Coburn does his best with a one-dimensional character, but Heston delivers a stiff performance as his quarry. Parks is memorable in a smaller role as the embodiment of the changing times, but Hershey has little to do with her role other than scream, fight and run.

Film Review – RIDE LONESOME (1959)

Image result for ride lonesome 1959RIDE LONESOME (USA, 1959) ****
      Distributor: Columbia Pictures; Production Company: Columbia Pictures Corporation / Ranown Pictures Corp.; Release Date: 15 February 1959; Filming Dates: began 14 August 1958 – 28 August 1958; Running Time: 73m; Colour: Eastmancolor; Sound Mix: Mono; Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: CinemaScope; Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1; BBFC Cert: U.
      Director: Budd Boetticher; Writer: Burt Kennedy; Executive Producer: Harry Joe Brown; Producer: Budd Boetticher, Randolph Scott; Director of Photography: Charles Lawton Jr.; Music Composer: Heinz Roemheld; Film Editor: Jerome Thoms; Art Director: Robert Peterson; Set Decorator: Frank Tuttle; Costumes: Ed Ware; Make-up: Al Greenway, Dave Grayson, Maybelle Carey; Sound: Harry D. Mills.
       Cast: Randolph Scott (Ben Brigade), Karen Steele (Mrs. Carrie Lane), Pernell Roberts (Sam Boone), James Best (Billy John), Lee Van Cleef (Frank), James Coburn (Whit), Bennie E. Dobbins (Outlaw), Roy Jenson (Outlaw), Dyke Johnson (Charlie), Boyd ‘Red’ Morgan (Outlaw), Boyd Stockman (Indian Chief).
       Synopsis: A wanted murderer, Billy John, is captured by Ben Brigade, a bounty hunter, who intends to take him to Santa Cruz to be hanged.
       Comment: Many regard this as the best of the Scott/Boetticher Westerns and it is certainly a strong vehicle. Kennedy’s lean script presents another battle of wills with Scott playing the silent bounty hunter with an ulterior motive around his prisoner, Best. Great support from Roberts, Best, Coburn (on debut) and Steele as a party thrown together and having to fend off attacks from Indians and Best’s outlaw brother (Van Cleef). The character layers are again what makes this story stand out from the crowded 1950s arena for the Western. Scott is at his stoic best toward the end of his career.