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Friday, June 26, 2015

From Noon Till Three (1976)

A bank robber (Charles Bronson) dallies with a widow (Jill Ireland) on an afternoon from noon till three while his outlaw buddies rob her town's bank. But when his compatriots are caught and about to be hung, she urges him against his better wishes to go help save them which he has no intention of doing. To please her, he pretends to be going to save them. What happens next is ..... well, the stuff legends are made of. Based on the novel by Frank D. Gilroy (THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES), who also adapted the screenplay and directed, this is an unexpected comic delight. The presence of Bronson and his wife Ireland suggests an action filled and bloody western. What we get is a wry romance with an ironic bite. A genuine gem of a sleeper. Bronson has never been more charming and it's the best screen role Ireland ever had. In a way, it seems like Bronson's valentine to her. It's an atypical Bronson movie but I could see him wanting to do it, not only as a change of pace, but as an opportunity to show off his wife's acting skills. The film gets a lift from its cinematography by Lucien Ballard (THE WILD BUNCH). With Betty Cole, Davis Roberts and Elmer Bernstein (who wrote the score) and Alan Bergman (who wrote the title song lyrics) as a pair of songwriters.

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