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Matt Fletcher, a Mexican-American buffalo hunter is constantly harassed and humiliated by bandit general Chuy Medina. When the bandit steals his horse - the appaloosa of the title - he sets out to even scores; at the climax, single-handedly, he takes on the whole gang. Written by
According to co-star John Saxon, Marlon Brando's relationship with director Sidney J. Furie got to the point where Brando, when getting ready to do a close-up, would be reading a book. He would only lower the book when Furie yelled "Action." When he yelled "Cut," Brando would raise the book again. According to Peter Manso's book on Brando, however, Brando and Furie met years later. Brando was quoted to have said, "I thought you were a no-good double-crosser, and I didn't know if I could trust you, but I saw the film and you have the great sense of the best visual directors. Let's do another movie together." Furie, according to the book, replied, "Never!" Furie, for his part, claims that they only came to blows once on the entire shoot of The Appaloosa (1966). See more »
In the final scene with Chuy, Brando weaves his leather poncho belt with his hat band, to lasso his rifle. When the shooting is finished and he stands up, the belt is back on his poncho, although there was no time to unweave the lasso and retie the belt. See more »
[enters confessional booth]
I'm having a little trouble getting started, Father.
You are in the House of God now, my son. Speak from your heart.
Well, I've done a lot of killin'. I've killed a lot of men and sinned a lot of women. But the men I killed needed killin' and the women wanted sinnin', and well, I never was one much to argue.
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"The Appaloosa" is a superior low-key western with a great performance by Marlon Brando and very good ones by John Saxon and Anjanette Comer. Brando plays a white man raised by Mexicans who returns from the Civil War tired of killing and ready to build a ranch around one Appaloosa stallion. Brando has the misfortune of becoming a tool for Comer to escape the clutches of Saxon. Saxon retaliates by stealing Brando's stallion, and Brando follows Saxon into Mexico to reclaim it. Director Sidney J. Furie ("The Ipcress File," "Iron Eagle") extensively uses extreme close-ups of faces, in the same manner as Sergio Leone, but not for the same purpose. Furie uses these close-ups to establish intimacy between the characters and the audience. This works beautifully in "The Appaloosa," particularly so since the story is so unremarkable and low-key and Brando's character is by no means a superman. Most of the violence is of the "G" rated variety, with the notable exception of a hand-wrestling contest played with the addition of scorpions.
While the ending of "The Appaloosa" is as abrupt and unremarkable as everything that precedes, intimate moments in the movie linger long after. As examples:
o Brando's confessional o The little girl telling Brando he smells like a goat o The goat herder telling Brando about Saxon's gunmen killing his pet goat o Comer telling Brando her fate if he doesn't help her escape Saxon o The hand-wrestling contest
There are many more unremarkable but somehow memorable moments in the sublime "Appaloosa." It is too insignificant to be great, but it most certainly very good. I give "The Appaloosa" an "8".
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