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The Marauders is directed by Gerald Mayer and adapted to screenplay by Earl Fenton and Jack Leonard from the novel written by Alan Marcus. It stars Dan Duryea, Jeff Richards, Keenan Wynn, Jarma Lewis, John Hudson and Harry Shannon. Music is by Paul Sawtell and Eastman Color cinematography is by Harold Marzorati.
Arizona Territory, 1875 and Richards plays Corey Everett, a rancher who fights back when a greedy land baron rounds up a group of ragamuffins to extract him from the property.
There's obviously not a lot of production value on show and some of the acting is eyebrow raising for the wrong reasons, yet this is an entertaining romp of a Western.
The siege set up is made interesting by the location, which is a small ranch with a water well backed up against a mountain, and the fact that it will ultimately be one man, one woman and one child against a whole gang. As the gang come to be led by Duryea's clearly unhinged Avery, they find Everett a most resourceful foe. With cunning tactics of war, including the manufacture of a grenade launcher, there's a fascinating battle between brains and brawn.
Extra bite comes from the respective character dynamics at work in the two camps. In the Everett ranch a turn of events offers up a neat twist that scores high for dramatic impact, while in the Avery camp his General Bastardo/Napolean Complex has the men under his charge thirsting for his blood. There is very much more than one battle being staged here, more so as water becomes the integral commodity of proceedings.
Sawtell provides a dramatic musical score and the Mecca, California locale is well used by Mayer and Marzorati for claustrophobic and sweaty peril purpose. Characterisations are colourful, especially Duryea on overdrive villainy and Wynn as the hook handed second in command who finds himself caught between loyalty and fear. It's classic B Western stuff and firmly of interest to fans of such productions. 7.5/10
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