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There is no question that this film is a wreck. But, like a wreck, it is not without interest. For one thing, the pace is good, the dialogue sometimes odd and not any more clichéd than any other Western of the era, and, happily, unlike too many international Westerns, has an easy plot to follow.
And it has some interesting characters. Most unusual and self-contradictory is the English army man (played by Victor de Kowa), who acts like a highly affectatious Monty-Pythonesque old poof (and he walks really weird), but he wants to marry the boy Jace's mother; bragging like Baron Munchausen, he turns out to actually be a good shot. A difficult character to figure out.
Rod Cameron is not unappealing as the easily-smiling hero; the main attribute of the kid playing his son is that he looks like David Spade. Cameron's main side-kick is the amiably over-weight Vladimir Medov, anticipating Lee Van Cleef's amiable chubby side-kick in "Sabata" by three years.
But Pierre Brice's Winnetao, to me, seems completely out of place; I get that this actor and character starred in a series of films, but his role was a relatively unimportant one here, and it was hard for me to get over Winnatao and his sister romping through the west in leather jump suits and tennis shoes. Ridiculous, actually.
And there are too many flaws of logic to overlook as well. In the first 10 minutes, for example, we are treated to one of the worst cases of "how many bad guys do we have to kill before their number starts to decrease" that I have ever seen. Specifically, in the opening battle, I counted 13 of Silers' men attacking Cameron and the Indians. The good guys kill 9 of them off their horses. 8 of the bad guys ride up to the ledge for closer combat. Two more are shot to death, and 7 ride back after withdrawing. Yikes!
I also scratched my head in confusion in the later sequence in which Silers and Sanchez together first attack the town defended by Cameron. The defenders "trap" them in a ring of fire that looks to be no more than 8 inches high. Terrified, the bad guys retreat. Was the 8 inches of fire that great an obstacle?
On the other hand, the movie treats us to more religious imagery, treated with genuine reverence, than we are wont to see in typical spaghetti Westerns (or any Westerns, for that matter). The scene in which the priest holds up a gold crucifix in the face of the invading outlaws, momentarily stopping them in their tracks, is affecting and oddly pleasing. One image of him, shot from below and in front of him, is very well done, as his arms, holding the cross above his head, frame a perfect Byzantine-style halo around his head. A good moment for the camera-man.
A lost opportunity for a truly horrifying moment was the interesting scene in which a parade of dead peasants in their wagons slowly ride back into town. The director opted here for the suggestion of horror, when I think a more graphic display of the many murdered men sitting upright in the wagons would have been more effective.
This isn't the worst Western by any means, and is odd enough to just perhaps merit your attention for its long 98 minute run-time.
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