Sunday, 18 May 2008
1971 directed by Mark Rydell
This is the sort of western they just don't make anymore - all action, family viewing with just the right amount of comedy.
John Wayne plays Will Anderson, an aging rancher who finds he has no hands to help him drive his cattle over four hundred miles of the most inhospitable landscape on the planet. In desperation he visits the local schools and hires on a bunch of kids, the oldest being 15, to do the job.
The film briefly touches on the boys journey to manhood but it largely ignores the rites of passage story and instead concentrates on the pathos, danger and humor of the cattle drive. And it's a better film for it. This is also one of the few movies in which Wayne dies, shot in the back by Bruce Dern's character. The actor was warned that audiences would hate him for killing Wayn and he joked, Yeah but they'll love me in Berkley. In fact the actor did indeed recieve death threats.
The films holds up well and because of its fast moving nature it still captivates today - I watched this film with my 13 year old son and two daughters, aged 6 and 4, and they thoroughly enjoyed it and when Wayne died there was not a dry eye in the house.
Excellent western entertainment.
The DVD IS WELL STOCKED WITH EXTRAS:
COMMENTARY BY THE DIRECTOR
NEW CAST/DIRECTOR REUNION FEATURE
VINTAGE FEATURE ORIGINALLY AIRED TO PROMOTE THE FILM IN THE THEATRE
THEATRICAL TRAILER AND A STILLS GALLERY.
Posted by PIPE SMOKERS at 14:46