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 – RIO LOBO (1970)

Image result for rio lobo 1970Rio Lobo (1970; USA; Technicolor; 114m) ***  d. Howard Hawks; w. Burton Wohl, Leigh Brackett; ph. William H. Clothier; m. Jerry Goldsmith.  Cast: John Wayne, Jack Elam, Jennifer O’Neill, Jorge Rivero, Christopher Mitchum, Victor French, Sherry Lansing, Susana Dosamantes, Mike Henry, David Huddleston, Bill Williams, Edward Faulkner. After the Civil War, Wayne searches for the traitor whose perfidy caused the defeat of his unit and the loss of a close friend. Hawks and Wayne team up for a final time in this entertaining, if derivative and slightly tired Western. Wayne and Elam, as a trigger-happy old rancher, stand out against a young and inexperienced cast delivering inconsistent performances. The finale replays that of RIO BRAVO (1959), which the team had previously riffed in EL DORADO (1966). Partly shot in Old Tuscon. Hawks’ final film. [PG]