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|Index||33 reviews in total|
Arguably, Elvis Presley's worst movie--certainly his least interesting--improbably casts the now-bearded star as a former outlaw in the Old West who is abducted by his former gang and set up as the fall guy for a priceless steal: a gold-plated cannon once belonging to the emperor. Despite good Ellsworth Fredericks cinematography on scenic Arizona locations, the violent, ugly plot fails to ignite, and Presley looks mighty silly trying to be Clint Eastwood. Hugo Montenegro's score gives the proceedings some Western panache, but someone made the fatal mistake of surrounding Elvis with foul characters one would cross the dusty terrain to avoid. * from ****
Released in 1969, "Charro" stars Elvis as Jess Wade, an ex-outlaw whose
former gang seeks to pin the blame on him for stealing a gold cannon
from a Mexican shrine. Wade ends up trying to protect the Arizona town
that holds one of the gang members in jail from the gang's cannon
If nothing else, "Charro" shows that Elvis could've easily been a Western hero in Eastwood's league if he chose to keep with it and got better scripts. Obviously influenced by the rise of the Spaghetti Westerns of the mid-late 60s, this is easily Elvis' best Western of the three he did, the others being 1956' "Love Me Tender" and 1960's "Flaming Star." These prior Westerns had too much of what made Westerns in general laughable before the 60s. There are many exceptions, like "The Last Wagon" from 1956" but -- generally speaking -- the downside of Westerns before the 60s include contrived plot elements, an unrealistic vibe, bad music, white actors playing Natives and dumb Indian dialogue. "Charro" is the least guilty of these sins of Elvis' three Westerns.
"Charro" has a good first and last act, but a weak mid-section. The score and Arizona locations are great, the cast too, but the movie's hampered by the lame second act and a TV-production vibe.
The movie runs 98 minutes and was shot in Apache Junction and Gold Canyon, Arizona, with further studio work done in California.
GRADE: Borderline C+/B- (or 5.5/10)
I like Elvis as much as the next person and enjoy watching his movies more for his music than anything since most of them were so bad (yes there are exceptions that were fairly acceptable, King Creole being my favorite) but this movie was just bad - plus no singing. Stiff acting, poor dialog, thin plot. Just when you think something exciting is going to happen, it doesn't, and then it's 15 minutes until the next almost exciting thing. A better script would have gone a long way in helping this move along. There were just so many blank spaces where you were expecting someone to say something but there was just this long pregnant pause. Sorry but I have to chalk this one up on my least favorite Elvis movies.
the fans know the story...Elvis wanted to make a real WEstern, no
songs. he got it with CHARRO...which could have *used* 2-3! What an
what went wrong? we know the Director/Writer tried to make a Western with Elvis Presley but was forced to do an Elvis Presley Western.
hate to say it, friends...it was Elvis...not that he didn't act well...he didn't act, didn't emote. I'm a big fan but this time I felt sorry for his co-stars, esp. Ina Balin. She plays the Angie Dickinson part.
maybe I gotta sit thru it again. I've seen VIVA LAS VEGAS, TICKLE ME, JAILHOUSE ROCK, KING CREOLE, BLUE HAWAII, FOLLOW THAT DREAM many times..this one, maybe 1.5 times. right now, I gotta say, it's awful. along with PARADISE, HAWAIIAN STYLE I can say they shoulda shelved it.
Not very convincing western, with standard acting from its cast, "Charro!" has a constant homoerotic undercurrent that has been overlooked by almost everybody, not to mention the incestuous tone of the relationship between two villainous brothers. Its real problem is the credibility of the situation (and I do not know much about ballistics), related to a valuable historic cannon that has been stolen from the Mexican army. Presley is framed as the thief and he must clear his name. In the cast, Solomon Sturges (son of famous director Preston Sturges), maybe not a bad actor, overdoes all the scenes he is in (no wonder he had a brief career); Tony Young does a clichéd Latino impersonation, and Ina Balin is as misused as usual.
I got a chance to view this flick recently on a local cable channel,and to my surprise since this was an western in utmost sense of the word,I came to like it tremendously. Great acting in all parts,and it was the ONLY movie where Elvis Presley didn't get up on a stage surrounded by lots of girls and sing a lot of songs,but NO siree,here is "the king" finally in a role where he plays a tough guy who gets even with a bunch of rowdies who set him up for something he didn't do. He really does get even here and it shows! It may have been good but here Elvis is damn good and probably the best flick he ever did that was surpassed his career. Even though its is a western it is violent,I mean violent to the core but you gotta love it! This was my all-time Elvis flick and I really enjoyed it! Worth seeing. And if you thought that Elvis was more than a singing and prancing personality with a guitar who is surrounded by lots of girls and its just the music within the whole picture, then you are sadly mistaken!!!! "Charro"! gave Elvis that chance to improve on his acting abilities and here it shows it in grand detail. The ONLY song that he sings is in the beginning of the credits.
As far as I am concerned, "Charro" is a great movie. I am a lifelong fan of Elvis Presley and love actor, Victor French, who has appeared in a lot of television westerns such as "Gunsmoke" and "Bonanza". I was thrilled to sit down and watch a film with them both in it. Imagine my surprise and delight to see another of my all-time favorites..Tony Young! When I was a young girl, growing up in England, my parents loved Westerns above all else on television. "Gunslinger" was fantastic and I hadn't seen a man as handsome as Tony Young, since I discovered Elvis. I am also a lover of Western films and think that "Charro" is a darn good movie..great storyline and characters and the music is just great. In fact, the song, "Charro" is one of my favorite Elvis songs and I always play it in the jukebox when I go to a certain hamburger restaurant in the Graceland Plaza area near the mansion, in Memphis. I am saddened to think that all three of these gorgeous men died relatively young. They left so much behind and made a lot of people happy. May they rest in peace.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Most of the actors in this sloppy western are screaming through half
the film. Meanwhile, Elvis stands around looking like a dumb dog
wearing a scratchy beard and a funky hat.
A lame story, a lamer script, and some of the lamest acting (especially by Presley) ever trotted out of a troupe of wannabe actors provides the filler for the near hour and forty-five minutes the viewer must sit through during this exercise in silliness. Advertised as "a different kind of role" for Presley upon its release; this movie was supposed to be the launch of his 'serious' film career. Only one problem, really......
..... Elvis couldn't act his way out of a horse trough.
Vince Hackett (Victor French): You won't be needing my tender care
anymore You're free to go, Jess. Anywhere where the Mexican law or
Mexican federales can't find you. Or any place north where the American
law or the American cavalry can't run you down. You're a famous man,
Jess. Don't ever forget it. Jess Wade (Elvis): I won't.
This was the King's last dramatic role. He seemed a bit stiff, but maybe that was the script he had to work with. It's just not right to have an Elvis movie where he doesn't sing. He's not Clint Eastwood, for gosh sakes, so why try to put him in a spaghetti western? Victor french, whom you may remember from "Highway to Heaven" or "Little House on the Prarie," did a much better job of acting than Elvis.
Maybe the film would have been better if that actually added the Hootchie Kootchie girl, Charo, to the cast.
The only singing you will hear from Elvis Presley in Charro is the
title song over the credits at the beginning. After that Elvis is all
business in Charro!. He even wears a scraggly beard to emphasize this
film won't be your usual Elvis funfest.
I liked the idea that Elvis was expanding his range as an actor and maybe he might have done more westerns after this if Charro! had been good. Presley had done two previous westerns Love Me Tender and Flaming Star and he acquitted himself well in both.
But this one was plain ridiculous. Victor French and his gang which includes his idiot brother Solomon Sturges steal a solid gold cannon from the museum in Chapultepec near Mexico City and then schlep the item to the border where French then proceeds to pin the crime on former gang member Elvis Presley. He even brands him across the neck with a running iron to simulate a bullet wound the leader allegedly got. Now that little journey is about 2/3 the length of Mexico.
Never mind, Elvis captures Sturges and holds him in a jail and gets himself appointed deputy sheriff to make it all legal. Never mind that, French threatens to use the cannon to level the town because he was smart enough to bring powder and shot and has in James Sikking one of Stonewall Jackson's old artillery men.
In that other film about a cannon, The Pride And The Passion the weapon was symbolically a phallic symbol and the illusion is drilled into our heads, especially with the ridiculous ending that Charro! has.
Colonel Tom Parker whose instincts for film properties were pretty good and knew Elvis's type of films were going out of vogue in the late Sixties, tried to take him in a new direction cinematically with Charro!. It was just the wrong western to do.
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