In 1864, due to frequent Apache raids from Mexico into the U.S., a Union officer decides to illegally cross the border and destroy the Apache, using a mixed army of Union troops, Confederate POWs, civilian mercenaries, and scouts.
A knight in the service of a duke goes to a coastal villiage where an earlier attempt to build a defensive castle has failed. He begins to rebuild the duke's authority in the face of the ... See full summary »
Franklin J. Schaffner
Will Penny, an aging cowpoke, takes a "line-rider" job on a vast cattle ranch requiring him to keep trespassers and squatters moving till they're off the property. Ironically, he discovers that the mountain cabin reserved for the line rider has been appropriated by Catherine Allen and her young son, Horace, whose guide has deserted them en route to Oregon to join Catherine's husband. Too soft-hearted and ashamed to kick mother and child out just as the bitter Rocky Mountains winter sets in, he agrees to share the cabin until the spring thaw. But it isn't just the snow that slowly thaws; lonely man and woman soon forget their considerable dissimilarities and start developing a deep, if awkward and unstated, love for each another. Beyond this, Horace finds in Will the father he's never known, and Will finds in Horace the son he's never known he's wanted. The trio's little refuge is then invaded by Bible-quoting Preacher Quint and his murderous family of "rawhiders," who'd earlier nearly... Written by
Feature debut of Jon Gries. NOTE: He is the son of director Tom Gries. Billed as Jon Francis, it was never the producers' intention to cast him in the part of Horace (aka "Button"). According to a DVD Special Feature, he would be at the studio while the picture was in development. He would spend time playing until one day the producers invited him into the office. Later, they told Tom Griers they had found the boy for the part--his son. See more »
During the fight between Will Penny and the Quint family, one of the brothers throws a knife into Penny's chest. A wire attached to the knife a very obvious. See more »
[Blue has just taken a shot of Catron's moonshine]
How's she taste?
Danged if I know... sure burns a dollar's worth...
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The tough, lonely life of the cattle drover (as it really was) is briefly related in the ideal opening scene of Tom Gries' "Will Penny" with an aching Charlton Heston compelled, at the end of an exhausting cattle drive, to take a humble winter job in the cold bleak hillside... His turbulent, crude, oppressive - virtually celibate existence - is marvelously exposed by Gries...
Heston portrays with honesty and sensitivity, a middle-aged cowhand "free and easy" who ignores everything about farming... He is a lonely rider who takes his bath eight or nine times a year, and mends his own clothes... He is a "good steady hand" concerned for Mrs. Allen and her son but "bad scared before, and bad sorry after." He is also a helpless man with uncertain future, a sincere cowboy extremely sensitive...
"Will Penny" is an extraordinary film... Not only does it feature Heston's most sincere and sensitive performance, it has a fine supporting cast and is one of the most adult Western scripts ever written...
Joan Hackett portrays Mrs. Allen with strength and dignity, never collapsing beneath the strain of her tribulations...
Donald Pleasance is the most dastardly villain to grace the screen in many long years... He is mean, unkind, and slightly insane... Bruce Dern is equally effective as one of his sons, the psychotic who "handles a knife just fine."
Realistically spared, "Will Penny" is a straightforward and honest film, a sincere attempt to recreate the Old West, and, more important, the "mighty good men" who lived therein...
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