|Index||8 reviews in total|
This is a basic good Western film. It doesn't pretend to be anything
classic, so it just delivers the basic action, scenery, and gorgeous
damsels in distress that make for great male movie watching.
It begins with a man, whose face is never shown, breaking out of prison and possibly killing a guard, then definitely killing a farmer and stealing his revolver. The farmer's brother seeks revenge, and the only clue he has is the revolver, part of a matched pair.
He meets up with a Native American damsel in distress, whom he saves, and an ex member of a notorious gang, and then an old Wild West Show marksman, and together they whittle down the notorious gang which is led by the man with the stolen revolver.
There isn't a lot of mystery, as it is pretty clear who everyone is from the start, but the action and scenery is good, and the characters are worth following.
John Agar searches for the man who gunned down his brother, with a
discarded gun his only clue. Along the way he hooks up with macho Mike
Conners, an exiled Indian woman, and a snake oil salesman.
The characters spend way too much time talking and not enough time doing the things that make a western good! It picks up near the end but it's too late by then to salvage the picture.
The best thing about Flesh And The Spur, besides the title, is the saloon brawl between a cowpoke and Conners, in which they use spurs as weapons.
John Agar was a talented actor. This just comes to show how far his career had descended since being declared persona non-grata by Hollywood for his drinking and hell-raising.
Co-writer Charles B. Griffith was responsible for some of the best of Roger Corman's micro-budget films (The Little Shop Of Horrors, A Bucket Of Blood, Attack Of The Crab Monsters) and one of his most successful, Deathrace 2000. It's too bad he couldn't breath much life in this script.
The featured song, "My Brother And I" is by Ross Bagdasarian, who a year or so later bought a multiple speed recording device, adopted the stage name David Seville, and invented The Chipmunks!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake" director Edward L. Cahn helmed a variety of films during his prolific 31 year career, ranging from westerns, to war pictures, to horror chillers, to juvenile delinquent epics, and science fiction sagas. Unfortunately, too much of Cahn's work is not available to enjoy. He made about five or six oater during his career. The low budget "Flesh and the Spur" qualifies as an above-average western. Western veteran John Agar, who cut his teeth on two famous John Ford sagebrushers, co-stars with future "Mannix" lead Mike 'Touch' Connors in this absorbing little trail western about a search for a killer. Although Cahn's is nowhere near as memorable as anything John Ford called the shots on, this concisely made but cheap shoot'em up is just quirky enough to pass muster. Basically, "Flesh and the Spur" concerns the efforts of a rancher to find the dastard who murdered his brother. As it turns out, the killer not only stole a horse but he also stole an unusual revolver. Our hero sets out to find the killer and crosses trails with another man who is looking for an outlaw gang that the killer has ridden with. The two men strike up an uneasy friendship and ride the revenge trail. Along the way, they encounter some interesting characters who participate in this adventure. The title alone makes this 78 minute oater interesting. Indeed, it sounded to me like a sadomasochistic porno western, but it isn't. Cahn's western is reminiscent of the trail westerns that Randolph Scott made with director Budd Boetticher during the 1950s. Two men ride the same trail but there is something between them that remains unresolved until the final quarter hour. Several things about "Flesh and the Spur" set it apart from the usual sagebrusher. First, there is an interesting saloon fracas where the combatants wield spurs as their weapons of choice since they are not allowed to tote guns on the premises. There is a sharpshooter whose aim improves with every shot of liquor that he swallows. There is an offbeat duel at the fade-out where the combatants hold their six-guns in an awkward gripcalled 'the border roll'that makes it difference. Altogether, "Flesh and the Spur" amounts to a sturdy, solid, formula western that departs from the norm just enough to distinguish it. Watching Mike Connors as the extrovert gunslinger is fun, too. The expertise with which Cahn and his director of photography lens the opening scene--a convict escaping from prison--is first-rate stuff, particularly because they endeavor to conceal the identity of the escapee.
Although highly talky and doesn't really have a lot of action, I sort of liked this movie mainly because it immediately puts you into some kind of low-budget independent cinema right from the start.. I mean, look at how the titles are set up! Although John Agar isn't my favorite actor (and hey! Neither is Touch Connors!) I sort of liked their on and off relationship with each other (admiring their guns wink wink) and there's some female candy to look at. But other than that, the plot is pretty straightforward and nothing you've seen before (eg brother tries to get revenge for his other brother's killing) and there's a lot of stretches of winded talking and talking, and it REALLY gets monotonous during the middle. So I would proceed at your own risk.
If I would have seen `The Flesh and the Spur' when it was originally released I would dismiss it as a weak western. Seeing it nowadays when westerns are so scarce I cannot help enjoying it. Probably because it has that flavor of the fifties. Mara English is a strong presence, she is sensual and interesting. Also Mike Connors is very good as Stacy Tanner.The film starts when a man runs away from prison and ends up killing John Agar´s brother.As he takes his gun, the rest of the film is about the search of Agar for the gun and the killer. During his search he becomes friendly with Connors and also rescues Mara English who eventually falls in love with him.
At the opening credits the viewer knew that this was going to be a
low-budget film as the people appearing in flick came onto the screen
in large case letters as if written on a neighbors typewriter. But even
with the minimal action and the hefty dialog, this movie did provide a
small amount of entertainment. So what if the actor was rough and the
film appeared to be aimed at the adolescent male, the story was
interesting and the twist at the end made for a compelling tale.
The story began with a prison break where a stripped-clothed male has escaped. The male, which we will learn was part of the Checker Gang, then kills a rancher in order to get the rancher's gun and horse. Now the brother of the rancher, Luke Random, vows to track down the convict and take his revenge.
Along the way Luke runs in to a man, Stacy Doggett, that is also looking for the Checker Gang, an Indian female that has been rejected from her tribe and an older traveling elixir man that has a daughter. These characters will ride together into situation that contain danger and death. All trying, in their own way, of getting at least one of the Checker Gang members.
As with this drive-in feature type movie of this generation, there are cowboys, Indians, villains and pretty girls with all having a share of some action. From a spur fight to a chick being tied up supposedly naked to a post, the teenage target group was pleased. But for the rest of us, it was a cheaply made movie that did its best to succeeded. And for the ending alone, they got all from the money spent.
NOTE- This movie was supposedly film in Pathecolor (unclear of the process of that system). The film I saw was in black and white plus was somewhat rough with many splices.
One of the infamous Checker gang escapes from prison and on the run
shoots John Agar down and takes his weapon with him. As Agar's dad had
two long barreled weapons made he gave one each to his twin sons. And
it's John Agar out looking for the guy who killed his brother John
During his search for the Checker gang Agar collects a curious crew around him. Michael Connors a wanted outlaw with an edge to him, talkative trick shot artist Raymond Hatton, and exiled Indian princess Marla English.
Flesh And The Spur was strictly for the drive-in trade. Those matched long barreled pistols that are harped on have a homoerotic twist to them that you couldn't miss. Sometimes you think Agar is more interested in that matched set than in getting his father's killer.
All these folks have done better work, especially Hatton whose credits go back to the earliest of silent films.
"Flesh and the Spur" is a low-budget 50s western and you know it had a
low budget because it stars John Agar and 'Touch' Connors (Mike
Connors' name before the graduated up to GOOD roles). It's far from
well made but not horrible.
The film begins with one of the Random twins being murdered by some thug for his horse and gun. His identical twin (Agar) vows to find the man with the fancy gun that belonged to his brother and kill him. Soon after, he meets Stacy (Connors) and there is every indication that Stacy is bad. When they meet an Indian girl(?), she informs the twin that Stacy is bad...and he ignores her. In fact, never have I seen so many warning signs that someone is bad...but his new friend insists he's just peachy. What's next? Who cares...the film lost me due to some really wooden acting by Agar as well as the worst Indian character I've seen since William Shatner starred in "White Comanche". The lady sounds like she just graduated from charm school...and sounds about as Native American as the Kaiser!! A silly, dull and indifferently acted film (at best).
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