Monday, August 16, 2010

Run for the border!

Bandolero! (Twentieth Century Fox, 1968)

Before the camera:

James Stewart (Airport '77)
Dean Martin (Airport)
Raquel Welch (Mother, Jugs, and Speed)
George Kennedy (Airport, Airport '75, Airport '77, The Concorde: Airport '79)
Andrew Prine (Grizzly)
Will Geer (Grampa Walton himself!)
Clint Ritchie (TV's One Life to Live)
Denver Pyle (Uncle Jessie Himself!)
and if you look fast -
Dub Taylor (Back to the Future III)
Harry Carey Jr. (Back to the Future III)
Perry Lopez (Death Wish 4: The Crackdown)
Jock Mahoney (Tarzan in Tarzan the Magnificent)
Roy Barcroft (Retik, Ruler of the Moon in Radar Men from the Moon)

Behind the camera:

Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen

Produced by Robert L. Jacks

Written by James Lee Barrett and Stanley Hough (story)

    When bank robber Dee Bishop (Martin) and his gang (including Geer and Ritchie) ride into the small town of Val Verde with larceny in mind, things go awry and some locals are shot, including the husband of Maria (Welch). The gang also finds Sheriff July Johnson (Kennedy) and Deputy Bookbinder (Prine) a little better prepared than they expected and soon after they are sitting in the town jail, watching some gallows being constructed.

    Elsewhere, older brother Mace Bishop (Stewart) hears that his little brother is about to put his head in a noose, and is soon on his way to Val Verde disguised as the very hangman meant to do the neck stretching. On the day the hanging is to occur, Mace does a little of the old "slip your brother a gun" trick and shortly thereafter the Bishop gang is on the way out of town with a posse led by Sheriff Johnson hot on their trail. This leaves the unsuccessfully robbed town bank completely unguarded, and Mace (whose complicity in the escape has not been revealed) helps himself to $10,000 in his first bank job ever.

    Four plot developments and one crossing of the border later, Dee and his boys have kidnapped Maria, Mace has worked around in front of the posse and joined up with his brother, Dee Bishop starts to make googoo eyes at Maria, and the posse finds itself losing men one by one as Mexican bandits (the bandolero of the title) pick off the last guy in line with deadly efficiency time and time again. (Lesson #1: if you're headed into Mexico as a part of George Kennedy's posse, don't ride the slowest horse. It's like throwing on a red shirt on the Enterprise...)
Eventually the groups meet up in a ghost town looted to the bone by those bandits, and enemies may have to band together to survive when the bandits return to make their final attack. Otherwise, perhaps no one will escape...the Bandolero!

I'll tell Sammy he's got to move out. What do you say?

    This is kind of an old fashioned Western that makes some attempts to be modern a la 1968: we cast our cast in shades of gray (the heroes are kinda bad guys, the sheriff is a little creepy - it is pointed out often that he's leading the posse to recover Maria and put the moves on her, not catch the bank robbers); there are very visible bullet holes on those who get shot, and there are a couple of bloody moments when the Mexican bandits start slicing and dicing the supporting cast. And it is an entertaining film. We never believe Stewart and Martin are brothers, but it's fun to watch them pretend to be. Stewart is a rock as always, and Martin impresses whenever he shows up to actually act, as he does here. We never believe Welch is Mexican (what is that accent?) or anything less than a 1968 woman dressed old timey (nice false eyelashes!) but she's easy on the peepers and no less welcome for her acting issues. And Kennedy and Prine both turn in sterling work and have great chemistry together. It's great to see so many familiar faces sprinkled throughout the cast, and director McLaglen keeps the flick moving along and provides some stunning landscapes for the action to play out against. All in all, Bandolero rates a solid recommendation for anyone who enjoys a Western now and again and is a must for fans. Check it out!

Let's Get Out of Here ?

Approximately 34 minutes in, someone in the Bishop gang proposes they all vacate Val Verde vivaciously.

Eye Candy?

Yes, despite (or because of) her refusal to leave her makeup bag at home, Raquel Welch definitely makes the list.

Buddha Man Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Esta película es buena y usted lo debe mirar!"

Until next time, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, 'Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. I've seen (and read the novelization?!?) of 'Four for Texas,' but I haven't seen this one. Have to put it on my watch list.

    1. I wonder who wrote that book? Aren't the Three Stooges in that one?

  2. vacate Val Verde vivaciously.... hahahahahahaha