|Index||4 reviews in total|
As a history teacher, this sort of western irritates the life out of
me. While it's supposed to be set just after the Mexican War (which
ended in the late 1840s), nothing about the film looks rightnothing.
The guns are all repeating cartridge pistols circa 1870s-1880s, the
cavalry uniforms from the 1860s and the whole look of the film is just
another late 1800s film. So why, then, did they bother setting the film
in this much earlier era if they just didn't care what they slapped on
the screen? I guess they just wanted to churn out anythinghoping the
public just would watch it anyways.
The film involves a very common theme to westernsthe baddies who are trying to grab up all the land and force the good people off their own property. In this case, an evil American is trying to force Mexicans off their land now that it's become a US territory. Unfortunately, it's all very familiar, the acting is unspectacular (at best) and the production just looks cheap and slapped together. My feeling is that since there were at least 13923035440509 other westerns made during this era, why not try watching one of the others first? After all, it's most likely a lot more interesting and better produced than this cheapie. And, perhaps my score of 3 is a bit generous.
Former Cavalry officer Jim Davis and fellow heavies Lee Van Cleef and
Marty Robbins take control of a huge parcel of land following the
Mexican American War, pushing the Mexican peasant farmers off the
property given them by it's former owner, a General in the Mexican
Raiders Of Old California looks a bit cheap but it's so hard-boiled and action packed that the low-budget doesn't hurt it all that much, though I wish country stars Robbins and Faron Young could have strummed and sang a few tunes.
Speaking of Young, he's pretty good as Davis' nemesis, a justice seeking U.S. Marshall. If he had been fifteen years older he could have been an excellent Saturday matinée western star.
Lee Van Cleef too has a pretty meaty role as Davis' number one henchman. Here he's just as mean, cold, and cruel as he is in later performances. This is essential viewing for Van Cleef fans.
After making The Badge of Marshal Brennan earlier in the year, Jim Davis once again teamed with producer/director Albert C. Gannaway and co-stars Arleen Whelan, Marty Robbins, Lee Van Cleef, Louis Jean Heydt, Harry Lauter, and Douglas Fowley, among others, for this one. Here, he's Captain Angus McKane who, after the Mexican war, takes the land that once belonged to his enemies by force and threatens to shoot anyone who dares to challenge him for it. I admit to being partly confused by some sequence of events but a flashback near the end explains nearly everything to my satisfaction. I also noticed one sequence involving fighting Indians that seemed the same one from the other picture I mentioned at the beginning of this review. Probably was done that way for budget purposes but it didn't ruin my enjoyment of this one. Really, there's good action and compelling drama throughout. So on that note, Raiders of Old California is recommended.
Jim Davis is star and protagonist of Raiders Of Old California, a
western from the last days of Republic Pictures. Davis is an army
captain who uses the Mexican War and the uniform to steal himself a
Spanish land grant from the previous owner Lawrence Dobkin who after a
murder attempt by Davis henchman Lee Van Cleef on his life, retires and
becomes a friar.
It's been previously pointed out the disparity in times for a film set in the post Mexican War years, with Davis, Van Cleef etc. wearing Civil War era uniforms and carrying even later weaponry. Herbert J. Yates was not much for authenticity and research.
Faron Young and Marty Robbins from the Grand Ole Opry are a good guy and a bad guy in this film. It was getting a little too late for country and western stars to become western stars on the big screen. Their time to become another Gene Autry had passed.
Those who are thespians do a good job with their roles. But Raiders Of Old California is a subpar western.
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