|Page 1 of 4:||   |
|Index||38 reviews in total|
Brigitte Bardot went on to Hollywood but did not fare any better...
'Shalako,' a British-produced Western directed by Edward Dmytryk,
teamed her with Sean Connery and Stephen Boyd (her partner in 'The
Night Heaven Fell') in a smoldering relationship charged with tension
The idea is cute and unbelievable: A party of European aristocrats are on a hunting safari in New Mexico in the 1880's... They are traveling with full equipage including butlers, maids, fine linens and vintage wines...
When their safari is led upon an Apache reservation, the Indians become annoyed, and Countess Irina Lazaar (Brigitte Bardot) is attacked by a savage Apache... Shalako (Sean Connery), a scout for the U.S. Army, bravely attempts to save her and leads the aristocrats away from imminent annihilation... With the Indians determined to attack, each member of the hunting party faces the greatest peril of their lives...
Edward Dmytryk seems to have attempted to recapture the freshness and essence of the 'B.B.' that Roger Vadim had helped to shape... But the re-creation escapes him, despite the careful choice of Louis L'Amour's novel and the casting of international stars as Jack Hawkins ('Lawrence of Arabia'), Peter Van Eyck ('The Longest Day'), Honor Blackman ('Goldfinger'), Woody Strode ('Spartacus'), and Valerie French ('Jubal').
The film never becomes exciting despite incidental brutalities...
Hundreds upon hundreds of westerns have been made by Hollywood and other cinematic centers of creation, but this one can at least claim a pretty unique premise and an unusual cast. The story concerns an arrogant and stubborn party of European nobility who have come to the wilds of the North American west to hunt for sport. They blithely roam onto an Apache reservation and invoke the wrath of the tribe, which has had its fill of broken treaties. Connery, as the title character, plays a well-known loner in the area who has a tenuous relationship with the Apaches and finds himself having to try to rescue the hunters. The hunters include the snobby, condescending van Eyck, his feisty fiancé Bardot, cuckolded Hawkins, his discontented wife Blackman, blithering ex-senator Knox and his Latino wife French. Their guide is the dubious Boyd, who is exploiting them for the fees they pay for his services. It is, at once, jarring and fascinating to see these characters in a western setting. The clothing, furnishings, behaviors, etc...are at odds with the typical western visuals. A butler frets that the champagne may not be cold enough, while they all sit at a dining table in the middle of the desert. The characters are so shallow and bigoted that the viewer can hardly wait to see them get their comeuppance and most of them do...in spades. Where the film primarily fails is in its storytelling, editing and location. The script is vague at times, to say the least. It's not always easy to determine the motivations of the characters. This is not helped by the fact that many of their accented murmurings are spoken softly while the musical score blares, making it hard to settle on a volume level. The editing is, at times, striking and effective, but other times it is weak and harms some of the dramatic impact of the story. The location (Spain) resembles nothing like the American west. This is immediately distracting and sometimes continues to be. There's a horribly silly title song. The direction is occasionally on the lazy side as well. However, the sheer intensity and savagery of the action sequences and some various intriguing story elements make this quite watchable. Connery is appropriately rugged, if unexpected, as a western hero. Bardot is lovely, but doesn't really get a chance to shine much. She is a striking figure on the range, even if her HEAVY eye make-up has nothing to do with the time or place. She and Connery have a slight, subdued chemistry between them that isn't fully developed. The real sparks fly between Boyd and Blackman. He is a great slimeball and she is wonderfully desperate. Her tussle with the Indians is a high point of the film. The Indians are portrayed in a throwback way...speaking pigeon English and basically doing what they did in westerns of the '30's. It's surprising that in 1968, Strode was cast as one of the leaders. Ultimately, the climax renders most of what has taken place inconsequential, another flaw in the storytelling. Still, the film has merit for it's collection of international actors, it's inventive violence and it's unusual approach to the western genre. (In some ways, it resembles a 1970's disaster movie! An all star cast gets dressed up, faces peril, gets dirty, and only a handful survive!)
The idea behind Shalako is not as preposterous as it sounds. Lots of
European nobles came here for hunting parties during the American wild
west period. As was pointed out in the beginning of Shalako among
others was the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia where Buffalo Bill served as
a guide to his party.
That being said I'm sure none of them were as dense as Peter Van Eyck who when warned of Indian danger, refuse to leave an area. Quite frankly those Indians should have wiped those blockheads out and would have if not for the efforts of intrepid Indian scout Shalako, played by Sean Connery in a cowboy suit.
Connery looks real nice, but if he wanted to play a western a better script would have done for him. Sean knows this thing is a turkey, but if you had the opportunity to work with Brigette Bardot, would you pass it up.
Stephen Boyd is the best one here as the turncoat guide of the Europeans. Boyd was a good looking man with a trace of arrogance in his screen persona that made him right for a part like Messala in Ben-Hur, but wrong for Livius in The Fall of the Roman Empire. He's back in his proper element.
And I can't give the ending away, but folks take my word for it, it is ridiculous.
Still if you want to see some unfamiliar faces for westerns, this is a good movie to see.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When you think of a movie western, surely the words Brigitte Bardot
DON'T come to mind. Well there she is decked out in black from head to
toe and wearing A LOT of make-up in SHALAKO, an interesting adventure
tale of a European hunting party out in the badlands led onto an Apache
Indian reservation by their unsavory guide.
Edward Dmytryk directs with uncharacteristic flair as the Indians close in to remove the "arrogant white men (and women)" from their land. Sean Connery appears out of nowhere playing the title role and while he's his usual solid self, it's difficult not to see him as James Bond gone wild west. There's surprisingly little chemistry between Connery and the great Bardot. As the villain, Stephen Boyd is very dull. He seems to have less and less personality with each film he makes. He's nearly invisible here. Woody Strode plays a particularly nasty Indian and Honor Blackman (perhaps in a nod to GOLDFINGER, in which she and Connery tussle in the hay) is a kinky British Lady who tussles in the hay with Boyd and is later disposed of by a very imaginative Indian.
This offbeat Euro-Western based on Louis L'Amour novel concerns about
Shalako (Sean Connery) whose Indian name means ¨he who brings rain¨ .
He's an US scout cowboy who intervenes to save European aristocrats on
a hunting journey in New Mexico when they are attacked by Apaches circa
This is a British Western set in Almeria (Spain) where in the 60s and 70s were filmed numerous Westerns , Shalako is a high budget but poorly directed . The gun-play , Indian attacks , shootouts are gripping but the movie is just another cold British product . Violent scenes abound as the attempt violation and murder of Honor Blackman . The casting is frankly magnificent but the film gets and incredible waste of a talented cast like happens with Sean Connery , though the first choice by the producers was Henry Fonda . There appears various main actors and secondaries usual in Western genre . Gorgeous Brigitte Bardot who played with Jeanne Moreau ¨Viva Maria¨ and with Claudia Cardinale ¨The legend of Frenchie King¨ . Stephen Boyd played Western as ¨Hanna Coulder¨ and ¨The Bravados¨ . Woody Strode at one of his habitual Indian roles as ¨Winterhawk¨ , ¨Loaded gun¨ , ¨The Gatlin gun¨ ,¨Keoma¨ , ¨Once upon a time..¨ . Julian Mateos , a famed Spanish actor , player in US Western as well as Spaghetti as ¨Hellbenders¨ , ¨Four rode out¨ , ¨Catlow¨ , ¨Return of seven magnificent¨ . Honor Blackman , pairing with Sean Connery in ¨Goldfinger¨ , here also makes love in a straw loft , this time with Stephen Boyd . Ernie Sykes playing a servant like in ¨The others¨ and Don Red Barry from Republic Pictures serial , ¨Adventures of Red Ryder¨.
Lively and spectacular musical score by Robert Farnon . Colorful cinematography by Ted Moore , he's the cameraman of most classic period James Bond : ¨Diamonds are forever¨ , ¨Goldfinger¨ , ¨From Russia with love¨.. The motion picture is regularly directed by Edward Dmytryck who made ¨Alvarez Kelly¨ , ¨ Warlock¨ , ¨Broken Lance¨, ¨Raintree County¨ . For somebody is a monumental bore but I think is a fairly watchable European Western , nothing more . Succeeds only in waste a lot of talented actors , for Brigitte Bardot only .
Given its director (Edward Dmytryk) and its cast (Sean Connery and
Brigitte Bardot) it is rather odd that 'Shalako" (1969) is such an
obscure film and that so many of the comments/reviews are totally
negative. "Spaghetti" westerns (filmed in Italy or Spain) were quite
the rage in the late 1960's and "Shalako" is about what you would get
if "Hombre" (1967) had been given a mild "Spaghetti" treatment.
While not even remotely on the level of Monte Hellman's stuff, "Shalako" is an entertaining and comprehensible western that most viewers will get into and enjoy until about the ¾ mark when the wheels fall off and it drags along to a less than spectacular resolution.
Dmytryk was a veteran action director who occasionally ("Eight Iron Men" and "The Young Lions") even did a good job of directing actors for the camera. This was one of his last efforts and he seems to have stayed focused on the action and paid little attention to the performances themselves.
Connery plays the title character, an experienced frontiersman who (like Paul Newman in "Hombre") is forced by circumstances into guiding a bunch of clueless civilians to safety. "Hombre" had Newman (a white man raised by Indians) in the moral dilemma of having to assist a group of people for which he has total contempt. Shalako ' s situation is simpler: he must extract a European aristocrat's hunting party who have ticked off the Apache's by coming onto their reservation and who have been betrayed by their cowboy hunting guides. Although he has little use for most of this group he has developed a grudging respect for a plucky countess (Bardot). There is decent chemistry in the early Connery-Bardot scenes but it does not sustain itself as the relationship begins to turn romantic.
As in "Hombre" there is an interesting twist with the young wife (Honor Blackman) of one of the aristocrats deciding to leave her husband for the dangerous cowboy (Stephan Boyd) who has just placed the group at the mercy of the elements (and the Indians). Blackman is excellent in this part , the only really challenging role in the production.
Dmytryk does an excellent job with his first three action sequences, including a surprisingly credible dawn attack on the camp of the hunting party and a more traditional stagecoach chase sequence. But as already mentioned, the film is extremely front-end loaded and he has dissipated all the tension before the climatic sequence even begins.
"Hombre" on the other hand withheld its best sequence until the end and managed to pack some nice irony into its resolution. You won't find this in "Shalako", in fact the final 20 minutes are so listless your mind begins mulling over the plot holes. Like how did Boyd's character manage to walk all the way to the top of the plateau without being detected by the Indians? When you have to insert a detailed verbal explanation for something totally inexplicable (that has happened "off" camera) a competent editor knows that it is time for some major trimming and a focused director begins revising his script.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
While I will concede that Shalako is not a groundbreaking film, I must take issue with the low average score it has received. The story is fairly engaging, Sean Connery is in great form, and Brigitte Bardot is as comely as ever! She reminds me of Claudia Schiffer! I also love her accent! She and Sean Connery share a very nice restrained romance. Some people might interpret this film as a celebration of the New World over the Old World but really that is too much of an analytical assertion. To me, it's a great star vehicle and a nice rousing adventure celebrating ingenuity, honor, and perseverance. 7/10.
I love westerns, though even I found this somewhat disappointing. While not a complete waste, it's odd that a movie named after a certain character would then have this character offscreen or inactive a lot of the time. And though it's based on a Louis L'Amour book, I found the story to be quite predictable, with scenes that have been in countless other westerns. Only if you want to see if Connery and Bardot on the range is as strange as it sounds.
SHALAKO is a movie that often appears in peoples least favourite
western lists and looking at this page many people have said how much
they dislike it but as someone who doesn't like the genre all that much
I can't say it's all that bad First of all the premise is fairly simple
without being threadbare which while not being a guarantee you'll be
watching a great movie is often a guarantee you won't be watching an
awful one: A bunch of European toffs on a hunting trip arrogantly
wander into an Indian reservation and after being warned to leave by
former army scout Shalako decide to ignore his expert advice which
leads to some nasty consequences .
It's not a great story but it does allow for some character conflict and some serious violence . It might seem tame today but this movie was produced in 1968 when audiences were still being treated to war films where when people were shot they give a pained expression , clutched their wound and slowly sank to the ground like a dying swan . The somewhat sadistic violence is probably the main talking point of SHALAKO especially the scene with the sand and the necklace , you'll know the scene when you see it
Yeah it's flawed film . One point is the many accents used which makes it rather difficult to understand the dialoguein some scenes which probably annoyed an American audience while many of the characters remain somewhat underwritten , I kept forgetting senator Henry Clarke was in the story until he appeared on screen in an infrequent manner . As for the casting Eric Sykes seems to be doing his comedy routine while Apache chiefs shouldn't be played by African Americans
But all in all SHALAKO isn't as bad as some people would have you believe
A group of arrogant European hunters takes to the North American West
to pursue game. Apaches? Am I about to say, little do they know that
they will have to encounter hostile Apaches? Nope. Actually, it is,
once they find out there are hostile Apaches, the more they want to
stay. That is the tone set by the group's arrogant leader, Baron
Frederick Von Hallstatt (Peter van Eyck). He and his haughty group, a
German and a bunch with supercilious British accents, do not want to
yield to "savages," but desire to teach them a lesson, even though the
Apaches have treaty rights on their side.
Sean Connery plays Carlin, a hunter and tracker, but he is known as Shalako, a name given to him by the Indians. The tracker who leads the group, however, is Bosky Fulton (Steven Boyd). Rivaling Connery's celebrity in the film are those beautiful European actresses Brigitte Bardot (Countess Irina Lazaar) and Honor Blackman (Lady Julia Daggett). The Countess is supposedly being matched with the Baron, but she and Shalako later have eyes for each other. As for Lady Julia, she is married to Sir Charles Daggett, who loves her, but Lady Julia and Fulton have something cooking. The other leading couple is Senator Henry Clarke (Alexander Knox) and his wife Elena (played by the also-beautiful Valerie French). There are a few others in the Europeans' coterie, and Fulton leads a slightly larger group of American frontier types who escort them. Toward the start of the movie, when the Countess is hunting on her own, the Apaches kill the Countess' companion but let her and Shalako, who was passing by, go. This is after Shalako promises to tell the group to get off Apache territory. The group does not cooperate, and the Apaches attack the Europeans' encampment, and I will stop my narrative.
By and large, the characters, including Shalako, are uninteresting. As the protagonist, he continues to make the right moves, in contrast to the loser Baron, but is given no character development and is not a compelling presence. Yes, Sean Connery is miscast and boring here. His character is not even worthy of the mediocre eponymous score. The Europeans have their boring and condescending say; sometimes, one gets the sense that director Edward Dmytryk deliberately has them muttering or whispering inaudibly to emphasize their emptiness, nothing to listen to anyway.
Still, I like the movie, and the reason is its atmosphere. I am not aware of other movies in which Indians are fighting not white American settlers but aristocratic Europeans. Not only is the tension grounded more tightly because the supercilious Europeans add the level of snobbery to the typical superior attitude of whites, but we also know they are unfamiliar with Indians. Like the men, Lady Julia thinks the Indians are savages. She has the stereotypical terror of them one might think a member of 19th-century European nobility might feel. Such a group is not made up of people of the land in the sense of American whites, but people with a silver spoon in their mouth. Perhaps the tension in "Shalako" is comparable to the tension in some flicks in which well-to-do Europeans go to African jungles. Here, the backdrop is instead the wide open expanses of Western plains and mountains, shot well by the cinematographers, who do very well with the distance shots as well as the closer-up action scenes.
Also, the story involves some intrigue, if uncomplicated, including the treachery of Fulton and Lady Julia. Honor Blackman is not a femme fatale Pussy Galore, but she is a traitoress of sorts. Some fairly graphic combat scenes are included, as was beginning to be the trend in the late 1960s in American and European films; Lady Julia screams in a gruesome scene involving a spearing, and in another, suffice it to say she is "handled" by the Indians. That is quite an intense one, worth seeing. However, as a final note, don't expect much from the ending, which as one might expect involves a face-off with the Indians. It befits the mediocrity of the overall script and characters, except it is perhaps worse.
|Page 1 of 4:||   |
|Plot summary||Ratings||External reviews|
|Parents Guide||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|