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Arthur B. Woods,
In the bordertown of San Pablo, preparing for an annual 'Mexican Fiesta,' arrives Gagin: tough, mysterious and laconic. His mission: to find the equally mysterious Frank Hugo, evidently for revenge; or is it blackmail? FBI agent Retz is also after the elusive Hugo. Everyone in town is enigmatic, especially Pila, a mystical teenager who follows Gagin around and has premonitions of his death. Also involved are a classic femme fatale and an antique carousel with a pink horse... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
It is really unfortunate that this film is not available on video. Until it has more exposure, it will remain as obscure as its title. A prime example of the "sleeper", "Ride the Pink Horse" should be regarded as a singular member of the Noir canon. The film features "classic" noir elements: the femme fatale (with an interesting twist--are there two of them?), revenge motivation, an overall feeling of fatalism and impending doom, dark cinematography dominated by shadows and a solitary, enigmatic protagonist. What makes "Ride the Pink Horse" so unique is mainly its setting: a small Mexican town and an ongoing festival. Director Montgomery apparently shot the film during what looks like an authentic fiesta, with its images of ancient gods and rituals. This adds to the feeling of remoteness and mystery that characterize this movie. The title refers to a merry-go-round horse, and it is actually spoken at one point: the Mexican girl asks Lucky Gagin which horse she should ride. His response seems arbitrary and perhaps this ties in with the meaning of the film--our choices and connections happen by chance, yet they can dictate our entire lives. Gagin has come to the town on a single-minded mission of revenge, yet by the end everything has changed and been influenced by circumstances he could not have foreseen. "Ride the Pink Horse" has an archetypal Noir style: many scenes are shrouded in shadow or filmed in silhouette; most characters are ambiguous in their intent. All the actors are good: especially Thomas Gomez, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and Fred Clark as a devious and nearly deaf villain. The beautiful Wanda Hendryx lends appropriate mystery to the Mexican girl. There is a lovely and evocative score using what sound like real Mexican tunes assembled by Frank Skinner.
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