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L'Astragale is a 2015 French drama film directed by Brigitte Sy. It is the second film adaptation of the 1965 semi-autobiographical novel L'Astragale by Albertine Sarrazin, after Guy Casaril's L'Astragale.
An outlaw must decide whether to stick his neck out for an innocent man in this hardboiled post-Civil War adventure written by noir legend Daniel Mainwaring (Out of the Past) and starring Frank Lovejoy (In a Lonely Place) and James Best (The Dukes of Hazzard). Beaten and forced out of town by the corrupt state police of Texas, Kit Caswell (Best) heads to the hills where he meets the notorious desperado Cole Younger (Lovejoy). Becoming fast friends, the two take jobs on a cattle drive, unaware that a jealous rival (Jan Merlin) with eyes on Caswell's girl (Abby Dalton) has falsely accused him of murder. So when Caswell is arrested and Younger slips away, only the testimony from the outlaw himself can save Caswell from the hangman. Written by
The same script, derived from a novel by Clifton Adams and screen-written by Daniel Mainwaring, was previously used in "The Desperado," distributed by Allied Artists Pictures four years earlier. Allied produced and distributed the new film. Some minor action elements were trimmed, making the new film about two minutes shorter. The other main difference is that the new version was shot in color. See more »
In 1873 the proud citizens of Texas were humiliated and oppressed under the carpet-bagger administration of Governor E.J. Davis and his especially created state police, the corrupt and tyrannical "Bluebellies". Natuarlly they didn't take it lying down - - -
R.G. Springsteen directs and Daniel Mainwaring adapts from Clifton Adams' novel, The Desperado.
This is pretty much a like for like remake of Thomas Carr's 1954 version which took the title of the novel. Only difference here is that it is in De Luxe Color and filmed through the CinemaScope process. Main character change is with the outlaw Cole Younger (Frank Lovejoy), where in the 54 film it was an outlaw named Sam Garrett played by Wayne Morris.
In short the pic finds James Best having to leave town due to a violent confrontation with the Bluebellie captain. On the run and having left behind the love of his life (Abby Dalton), he hooks up with outlaw Cole Younger, forms a friendship and is thankful of that friendship when treacherous Frank Wittrock (Jan Merlin) fits him up for a murder.
It looks absolutely gorgeous, the colour, the Simi Valley locations, costumes and set design, but it rarely raises the pulses. It sort of plods through the story and fails to utilise what is a decent cast (it was Lovejoy's last feature length film). There's some value in the themes at work, such as refusing to bow to tyranny and that some gunmen were honourable and kept to gentlemen codes of conduct, but really it's lazy and you are strongly urged to seek out the far superior 54 film instead. 5/10
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