Three disparate travelers, a disillusioned preacher, an unsuccessful prospector, and a larcenous, cynical con man, meet at a decrepit railroad station in the 1870s Southwest. The prospector and the preacher were witnesses at the singularly memorable rape and murder trial of the notorious Mexican outlaw Carasco. The bandit duped an aristocratic Southerner into believing he knew the location of a lost Aztec treasure. The greedy "gentleman" allows himself to be tied up while Carasco deflowers his wife. These events lead to the stabbing of the husband and are related by the three eyewitnesses to the atrocity: the infamous bandit, the newlywed wife, and the dead man through an Indian shaman. Whose version of the events is true? Possibly there was a fourth witness, but can his version be trusted? Written by
Stagy and Drags...But Undeniably An Off-Beat Western
Talky, Claustrophobic, Message Western, a Who-Done-It that is a Remake of a Kurosawa Film from 1950 (Rashomon). If you haven't seen it, don't Fret, only Film School Geeks and Residents of Japan have had the Pleasure. It is said that it is one of the All-Time Greats.
That will Never be said of this one. An Intellectual's Movie that is Thoughtful, but Plodding, and by the time the Same Story is told for the Fourth Time, you may want some Relief. You get it here by turning a Rape/Murder Story into Something of a Slapstick Ending.
Another Thing much Talked About, from those who Talk About such Things, is the Debatable Miscasting of Paul Newman as a Bandido. An Argument could be made either way. This is just too Stagy to Matter that much and there is Dialog and more Dialog and still more Dialog, all essentially telling the same Thing from a Different Perspective. That's the Whole Point of the Movie. In case you didn't Get It the first two Times the Scenario is Replayed.
The Film has a Dark and Brooding look and the Actors all turn things Up a Notch, and some say Newman turns it up more than one. Overall it is Certainly Off-Beat, and Finely Made, but has a few Missteps that Add to the Delirium and at Times the Movie moves with too much Weight and Drags. Interesting, to say the Least, but Occasionally Boring and the Ending is a Letdown, although it does have a Baby(?).
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