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The Scalphunters (1968)

 -  Comedy | Western  -  2 April 1968 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,939 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 16 critic

Forced to trade his valuable furs for a well-educated escaped slave, a rugged trapper vows to recover the pelts from the Indians and later the renegades that killed them.

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Title: The Scalphunters (1968)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Joe Bass
...
Kate
...
Jim Howie
...
Joseph Lee
...
Jed
...
Frank
Dan Vadis ...
Yuma
Armando Silvestre ...
Two Crows
Nick Cravat ...
Yancy
Tony Epper ...
Scalphunter
Chuck Roberson ...
Scalphunter
John Epper ...
Scalphunter
Jack Williams ...
Scalphunter
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Storyline

Trapper Joe is on his way to the town with all of his gain of hides of the last winter. However a group of Indians stops him and takes all of his hides, leaving him the escaped slave Joseph instead. But Joe has no use for Joseph and is determined to get his property back and follows them. Before he can do anything, the Indians are raided themselves by a group of scalphunters under the greedy Howie. Not only the hides, but also Joseph falls into their hands. Now Joe follows them alone and tries to trick the numerical superior group out of his hides. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He'll stop at nothing to take back what's his.

Genres:

Comedy | Western

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 April 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Camino de la venganza  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

During the fight scene between Joe and Joseph, the white wire used to pull Joe out of the ditch is clearly visible. See more »

Quotes

Joe Bass: You ever fight twelve drunk Indians?
Joseph Lee: No, sir, but I'd like to see it done.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Otley (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A magnificent achievement. One of the best westerns ever made.
27 November 2002 | by (the lower depths) – See all my reviews

This was the movie that made me throw away my Maltin Reviews.

I've always been a huge admirer of Burt Lancaster & his work & in my book this is one of his very best; it may just be his best, but how can you beat Crimson Pirate or Vera Cruz or Sweet Smell of Success or even his first - The Killers? The man was endowed with very high doses of intelligence, humor, humanity, physical presence & and a sort of 19th century stage hamminess. There used to be a saying that you could tell the type of film Lancaster was doing by his hairdo. When the hair was short, the movie was serious. When it was wavy, his tongue was filling up his cheek. It's quite wavy in Scalphunters. He's the epitome of the mountain man / trapper in this one: whiskey-drinking, bible-quoting highly-opionated & super-stubborn Joe Bass. Mark Twain would have loved this character, he's right out of Twain's imagination. It's hard to believe that Lancaster was in his mid-50's when he made this. He looks much younger & moves with the quickness & grace that made this ex-trapeze performer a legend.

Ossie Davis is a perfect match for Lancaster as the extraordinarily wise & well-educated but highly wary escaped slave Joseph Lee, who must continually rein in his instinct to trump the cruder but highly canny in his own way Joe Bass. The film is an almost Shakespearean interplay of their personalities - duel & duet . The viewer is able to observe the change they continually effect upon each other.

The Scalphunters themselves are a group of lowlifes led by Telly Savalas as Jim Howie (in the best role I ever saw him play in a movie), a nasty but not unwise lout who spends most of the day & night in his baggy long johns. They make their living robbing & killing & selling Indian scalps to the government. I found the portrayal (& dialog) of these bushwhackers as real & accurate in every detail as anything I've ever seen on the screen, right down to Howie's astrology ("star-gazin") ex-whore lady-friend Kate played by Shelly Winters in her least whiny role ever. There's plenty of tension & action in this film. It's cat vs. mice from start to finish: Lancaster vs. Indians, Lancaster vs. Scalphunters, Lancaster vs. Indians again.

The performances, Sidney Pollack's direction & William Norton's writing all serve to put this film in a class with The Searchers. I believe it is to Lancaster's career what The Searchers is to John Wayne's.

Definitely a magnificent achievement. A must for wide-screen DVD restoration.


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