Sergeant Foggers and two confederate soldiers lay their hands on gold bullion belonging to the army, taking at the same time a certain Ben Akajnian hostage. Then they bury the loot near an ... See full summary »
Sergeant Foggers and two confederate soldiers lay their hands on gold bullion belonging to the army, taking at the same time a certain Ben Akajnian hostage. Then they bury the loot near an isolated waterhole in the desert. Some time later, Lewton Cole, a professional gambler, fights a duel with one of the robbers, kills him and finds the map of the treasure on his body. Stopping at the small town of Integrity, Cole, in order to escape Sheriff Copperud locks him up in his own jail-house, steals his horse and even finds the time to "seduce and abandon" Billee, the sheriff's comely daughter. The indignant father catches up with Lewton, arrests him and grabs the gold. But Foggers and his accomplice attack him, relieve him of the treasure and free Cole... Written by
"The place Arizona, the year eighty-four," the song tells us, and James Coburn is on a relaxed hunt for stolen gold. There are plenty of actors in this comedy western whose faces you know but can't put a name to. Lewton Cole (Coburn's cool, ironic hero) is a blatant imitation of Clint Eastwood's screen cowboy persona. Indeed, the whole film shows the strong influence (in its look and its style of humour) of the Spaghetti Westerns.
I came to this movie determined to dislike it, but found that I couldn't. There is an excellent shot of Cole inspecting Quinlen's corpse, shot from ground level against a terrific sunset, but this lyricism is all too brief. Thereafter, it is all wacky scampering in pursuit of the gold. Coburn holds the screen effortlessly and his amiable performance sets the tone.
Timothy Carey, the tough guy in Kubrick's "Paths of Glory", turns up here as a likeable villain, and shows a distinct talent for comedy. TV's Arch Bunker, Carroll O'Connor, plays Sherriff John. Margaret Blye is Billee, the sherriff's babe daughter. A very young Bruce Dern pops up in a nice cameo, and an ageing Joan Blondell is unrecogniseable as Lavinia.
The shoot-out in the cathouse is well done as these things go, but beyond that there is little more to say.
Verdict - Mildly entertaining nonsense.
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