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William Shatner plays two roles: cowboy Johnny Moon and his ruthless Indian twin brother, Notah. Notah likes peyote and gets the crazy idea that he's the Comanche messiah sent to lead the Comanche nation against the white man but more specifically the dusty desert town of Rio Hondo. Moon, estranged from his brother, decides to stop Notah either by words or by bullets. Written by
MR. MIKE'S COUCH-TIME MOVIE REVIEW WHITE COMANCHE.
Yes, the line above is spoken in the context of some time-honored Native American fable. It's just one of the many nuggets that make this sofa-time well spent. White Comanche features William Shatner (Capt. Kirk)during a break from Star Trek starring in an Italian western. Now, hold on. Hindsight being 20-20 and all, this might not have been the disastrous career move we've come to expect from the strict method-acting thespian with Shat's pedigree.( wait, that 20-20 reference might be another native American truism ! Put yourself in Shatner's shoes, no small feet for a guy who stands 5-7 at best! Clint Eastwood was making a big splash in Italian Westerns. Of course, THOSE Italian westerns were shot with more than one camera. But hey, you get on a plane for Italy, you don't find out these things right away.
Summary: Shat plays half-breed, twin brothers. Johnny Moon the misunderstood cowpoke in the polycotton blend slacks, and Notah Moon, the bloody savage killer Comanche brother who wears his hair just like Johnny's and yes, Mom still lays Notah's polycotton blend slacks on the bed for him each night too. Notah eats peyote, sees visions (all off-camera) and believes he is a Comanche messiah, sent down to the reservation to get a lot of Italians dressed as Indians all hot and bothered ! There's a showdown in the street.
The reliable (but obviously down on his luck) Joseph Cotton wrestles with the script as the well-meaning sheriff who reaches out to Johnny. And Rossana Yani, one hot Italian actress, who of course plays Kelly, the whore with a heart of gold, the love interest.
The movie is godawful. Poor cinematography, obvious jump cutting, stilted script, misplaced period music. The director tries to update the Cowboys/Indians shoot 'em up with drug references and then throw in the old Prince/ Pauper routine. Tired. A better budget might have pulled it off, but would have probably meant a better, more expensive cast (like say, Vince Edwards, Lee J. Cobb and Connie Stevens as Kelly). If that were the case, NO ONE would remember this movie. Kelly is beautiful, but has no one idea what her lines mean in English. At one point, she sympathizes with Johnny's abuse by prejudice, "We're all outcasts in someway, I'm part French, English with a little German mixed in." Of course, there's NO IRISH connection, her name IS KELLY.
Points of interest: Visible telephone poles in the old west, Notah Moon's on-again, off-again saddle trick. He does this same magic with his warpaint. Shatner's use of Kirk-esque grappling moves in his far too-long fight scene. Kelly's quick leap in the sack with the twin brother of the man who raped her. This logic is rivaled only by her insistence on bathing alone in the middle of nowhere in a spicy scene guaranteed to save the special effects budget. With the money saved, the crew was able to construct a SIXTH building for the set!
Cotton is not bad in this picture. It's easy to pile on Shat, but he's not a bad actor either in the right role. But God can't help this production. The music is not to be missed. Pick up White Comanche today. But do it when the Video stores are bulk selling their VHS stock.
White Comanche gets 3 potatoes: 1 for the soundtrack 1 for Rosanna Yanni (no relation and that's why she gets a potato!) 1 for the incredible marksmanship. Everyone who dies in this picture, save Notah, all take a bullet right between the eyes.
Thats the same sensation you'll experience if you see White Comanche !
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