A cowboy tries to protect a young woman whose father was murdered because he had railroad maps that showed the location of a proposed new line. Now the killers are after her because they think she has the maps.
Edgar G. Ulmer
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams,
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Maybe this isn't the first WTF movie, but it certainly is in the running, and certainly the epitome of a WTF (What the Flock!) movie.
This movie, on the surface, is about people of different nationalities and sides during a war, being trapped in a cavern together. The social plot is about the "class" warfare, as the "officer" class becomes the majority, and the one "enlisted" man becomes the leader.
This should have been a good movie. The very nature of it destined it to "cult classic" status, but the writing is perhaps the worst you could get for what could have been great.
We want to cheer for the lone enlisted man, John Saxon, whose everyday looks made him a natural for the "Everyman", but his character looks to be written by someone who has never been in the "enlisted" class.
We have one German surviving to reach the cavern, who becomes the solitary enemy figure, but not a nemesis. In fact, he is one of the more rational of the characters. The nemesis figure comes from a cliché of a rich jerk, played by Hagman. However, Saxon's character is so poorly written, that we have a hard time pulling for him against the cliché jerk.
This is a great example of a great idea gone sour by poor writing. Not surprising to those of us who have sat in bard meetings where decisions over writing are made. It's always best to let one writer submit and at most one other to edit, before the director makes his final "rewrite", which most directors do. Today, you even have prima donna actors doing "rewrites", which is why you have so much garbage on film.
Those of us from the "enlisted" class want to cheer for this movie, and maybe that is why I don't rate it "1" or "2", but it is laughably bad. A real WTF movie, made worse by the fact that it did the worst job with a great idea.
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