PALE RIDER (USA, 1985) ***½
Distributor: Warner Bros.; Production Company: The Malpaso Company; Release Date: 27 June 1985 (USA), 4 October 1985 (UK); Filming Dates: began 17 September 1984; Running Time: 115m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: Dolby; Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Panavision (anamorphic); Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1; BBFC Cert: 15.
Director: Clint Eastwood; Writer: Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack; Executive Producer: Fritz Manes; Producer: Clint Eastwood; Associate Producer: David Valdes; Director of Photography: Bruce Surtees; Music Composer: Lennie Niehaus; Film Editor: Joel Cox; Casting Director: Phyllis Huffman; Production Designer: Edward C. Carfagno; Set Decorator: Ernie Bishop; Costumes: Glenn Wright; Make-up: Barbara Guedel; Sound: C. Darin Knight; Special Effects: Chuck Gaspar.
Cast: Clint Eastwood (Preacher), Michael Moriarty (Hull Barret), Carrie Snodgress (Sarah Wheeler), Chris Penn (Josh LaHood), Richard Dysart (Coy LaHood), Sydney Penny (Megan Wheeler), Richard Kiel (Club), Doug McGrath (Spider Conway), John Russell (Stockburn), Charles Hallahan (McGill), Marvin J. McIntyre (Jagou), Fran Ryan (Ma Blankenship), Richard Hamilton (Jed Blankenship), Graham Paul (Ev Gossage), Chuck Lafont (Eddie Conway), Jeffrey Weissman (Teddy Conway), Allen Keller (Tyson), Randy Oglesby (Elam), Herman Poppe (Ulrik Lindquist), Kathleen Wygle (Bess Gossage), Terrence Evans (Jake Henderson), Jim Hitson (Biggs), Loren Adkins (Bossy), Thomas H. Friedkin (Miner Tom), S.A. Griffin (Deputy Folke), Jack Radosta (Deputy Grissom), Robert Winley (Deputy Kobold), Billy Drago (Deputy Mather), Jeffrey Josephson (Deputy Sedge), John Dennis Johnston (Deputy Tucker), Michael Adams (Horseman), Clay M. Lilley (Horseman), Gene Hartline (Horseman), R.L. Tolbert (Horseman), Clifford Happy (Horseman), Ross Loney (Horseman), Larry Randles (Horseman), Mike H. McGaughy (Horseman), Jerry Gatlin (Horseman), Lloyd Nelson (Bank Teller), Jay K. Fishburn (Telegrapher), George Orrison (Stationmaster Whitey), Milton Murrill (Porter), Mike Munsey (Dentist / Barber), Keith Dillin (Blacksmith), Buddy Van Horn (Stage Driver), Fritz Manes (Stage Rider), Glenn Wright (Stage Rider).
Synopsis: A mysterious preacher protects a humble prospector village from a greedy mining company trying to encroach on their land.
Comment: Eastwood’s first Western since THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES nine years earlier is a thinly disguised reworking of the themes explored in SHANE (1953) and Eastwood’s earlier HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER (1973). Eastwood deftly mixes the morality messaging of SHANE with the mysticism of HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER and the film’s lack of an original perspective makes it seem at times overly familiar. There is, however, much to enjoy here with Eastwood and an excellent cast making the most of the familiar situations. The star is in good form returning to his stranger persona as he helps a group of prospectors panning for gold against a mining company out for their land. The production is well-mounted in a beautiful setting in Idaho, which is sumptuously captured by cinematographer Surtees at the start of a snowy autumn.
PALE RIDER (USA, 1985) ***½