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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Catlow (1971)

A sheriff (Richard Crenna) is tracking down an old friend Catlow (Yul Brynner) who is accused of rustling cattle. Going back under arrest on a stagecoach, the accused Catlow is freed by his men and heads for Mexico and the chase is on. Based on a novel by the prolific western writer Louis L'Amour, this is a rather formulaic western with large doses of humor that I suspect weren't in the novel. The film, directed by the actor Sam Wanamaker (DEATH ON THE NILE), seems caught between two styles. On one hand, it tries to be a typical Hollywood western but filmed in Spain, it feels oddly foreign without the spirit of the spaghetti westerns of the day. Brynner and Crenna are ingratiating enough while displaying a nice camaraderie and Leonard Nimoy playing against type makes for a suitably cold hearted villain. What dates the film is the inappropriate 70s "pop" score by Roy Budd, example: when Crenna and Jo Ann Pflug (MASH) go riding a bossa nova plays. More indifferent than bad. With Daliah Lavi (THE SILENCERS), Jeff Corey, David Ladd (Alan's son), Julian Mateos and Bessie Love.

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