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William Bonney - Billy the Kid - gets a job with a cattleman known as 'The Englishman,' and is befriended by the peaceful, religious man. But when a crooked sheriff and his men murder the Englishman because he plans to supply the local Army fort with his beef, Billy decides to avenge the death by killing the four men responsible, throwing the lives of everyone around him - Tom and Charlie, two hands he worked with; Pat Garrett, who is about to be married; and the kindly Mexican couple who take him in when he's in trouble - into turmoil, and endangering the General Amnesty set up by Governor Wallace to bring peace to the New Mexico Territory. Written by
Gary Dickerson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This movie was terrible....and it's one of Newman's few misfires.
When the film began, I suddenly had very low hopes for it. That's because the opening tune was simply horrible--with bad lyrics and a cheesy quality that made me cringe. However, I assumed it would get a lot better. After all, almost anything Paul Newman did is well worth seeing (other than his first film, "The Silver Chalice"--which Newman himself often mocked when asked about it). Well, while this isn't as bad as "The Silver Chalice", it is pretty bad.
The biggest problem with the film is the direction. It seems that instead of making a simple western, the actors had been told to act as if they were at a workshop given by The Actor's Studio--and each of them was trying to out-emote each other. Imagine a film where EVERYONE is method acting and all trying to do it more broadly and noticeably than the last guy! Subtle, it was not--in fact, it was seriously funny at times. There were just so many scenes that were overacted horribly. I especially loved the death scenes and when folks got mad because they REALLY died spectacularly or got insanely angry! I especially loved Pat Garrett's (John Dehner) reactions in the film--they were downright funny.
The other big problem is that as a historical piece, the film bore no resemblance to reality! Like a lot of bad westerns, this one purports to be about an infamous western bandit (in this case, Billy the Kid) but isn't his life in the least. And, combined with the crap acting and direction, the film is just a complete mess. So, unless you like bad films or have no taste at all, steer clear of this one. Even with Newman, it's a dog.
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