|Index||3 reviews in total|
This is a road-company version of the Cecil B. deMille original,
utilizing second-string actors and borrowing footage and plot elements
from a number of earlier movies. You can't really call it bad because
it aspires to be nothing more than one of those forgettable
time-killers you might half-way watch on an in-flight movie.
Abby Dalton overplays her role as Calamity Jane and a mis-cast Don Murray (still boyish at age 37) lacks the frontier edge you'd expect to find in Wild Bill Hickok. He does have a fresh-from-the-bath scene in which he wears nothing but a towel -- a scene which sparks pleasant memories of a similar moment he played in 1956's "Bus Stop." Even after ten additional years Murray still looks fit enough to carry off a "beefcake" scene but one can't help noting that his pecs have gotten a lot hairier with the passage of time. And does he have to wear that towel so high that it covers up his navel?
Later in the movie Murray falls into the hands of Indians who proceed to torture him in the hopes of forcing information from him. They hang him by his wrists over a fire-pit but, curiously, they leave all his clothes on -- even his neckerchief! -- with his shirt-tail neatly tucked into his pants and his boots still on. This awfully-polite torture scene cries out for a big helping of sweaty "beefcake" and since Murray proved he still looks good with his shirt off, one questions the decision not to use his physique in this scene for visual appeal. Did someone decide that since Murray had taken off his shirt earlier in the movie, he couldn't do it again?
Leslie Nielsen pops up toward the end as General Custer. He's burdened by a laughable hair-do and beard and looks uncomfortably like the American history teacher who's been pressed into service in the high school play when Billy Bob called in sick.
Well, let's face it: this film will never win an academy award, but it's still a nice decent entertainment with humour touches. Fine acting and a typical plot make this film a good Indians and cowboys one. This is a remake of 1936 Cecil B. De Mille's The Plainsman with Gary Cooper. Here Don Murray plays Will Bill Hickok, Guy Stockwell William Cody and Abby Dalton Calamity Jane. All of them do it all right although no sparkling. Leslie Nielse appears in the end of the movie as col. Custer. Beautiful scenery (the opening credits and first meeting between Hickok and chief Black Kettle specially) and nice script (see the scene where Calamity Jane talks with Cody's wife about men). So do not expect a ten star film but still worth watching.
The scenery and the production values make this a pretty watchable TV remake. The cast is generally good, although Abbie Dalton is a bit much as Calamity Jane. The best acting is provided by David Macklin as a young trooper who comes apart at the death of his friend in an Indian attack.
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