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The famous critic Pauline Kael in an interview mentioned that the opinion about a film sometimes changes according to the time that the film is viewed. A film that might be great when seen for the first time ten years later might seem completely outdated and vice versa. 'Two Mules' is a western that was released at a time that the public wanted something else. What they wanted was Clint Eastwood 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly' style, and that was what he kept doing for the next years. 'Two Mules' was considered a failure, specially because of Shirley MacLaine that did not fit into the standard Eastwood pattern. Nowadays the story is different, the film is worth seeing, specially because of MacLaine. Most of the time they are together and it works very well, Eastwood is less serious than usual and it is very funny how he tries to understand how a nun thinks. The music by Morriconne has a comic touch and together with the wild creatures that are shown on the screen like a scorpion, a rattlesnake, a mountain lion gives a great beginning. The final part does not keep the same level, but those two great actors and their funny relationship are quite enough to make this a very good film. The script of the film was originally written by Budd Boetticher while he was filming "Aruzza" in Mexico. He needed money very badly to complete "Aruzza" so he sold the script, and got very upset later on when they did not make the film the way he wanted.
With the intervention of Napoleon III of France, Archduque Maximilian
was installed as emperor in Mexico but Mexican countrymen known as
Juaristas (Juarez' resistance) were fighting to demonstrate that their
country could act independently, that - as the reform contended - all
men were equal under law, and that foreign monarchical adventures in
Mexico were futile...
Sister Sara (Shirley MacLaine), presumably a nun, has adopted their cause and is being pursued by the French army for raising money to the Juaristas... Hogan (Clint Eastwood) is a wonder obliged to neither party... He appears unexpectedly when Sister Sara is about to be raped by three men... Fortunately for her, he kills them all...
But unlike the 'Man With No Name,' Eastwood doesn't turn and ride away... He escorts the good-looking nun in her mission...
But the nun's strange behavior intrigues his curiosity... She smokes cigars, she drinks whiskey and her language comes to be every day more profane...
Hogan's fascination with her arrives at its peak when she removes an Indian arrow from his shoulder, having rendering him half insensible by intoxicating him with shots of Whiskey...
After joining her to blow up a French supply train, he is persuaded to help a group of Juaristas led by Colonel Beltran (Manolo Fabregas) in a final attack on a French garrison...
The climax of "Two Mules for Sister Sara" displays the differences between Leone's conclusion which the 'Stranger' merely disappears into the mists of time... The change of image didn't excite the audience leaving the picture with enough nostalgia for the myth of the loner, the super hero, the 'Man With No Name.'
The film (beautifully shot in Color) is really a two-character story... The interesting team gives amusing and tender performances... The motion picture echoes "The African Queen," but is far away from being Hepburn/Bogart exciting adventure...
Sure, he's in the shadow here of his more famous Leone westerns, but
this vehicle, amiably directed by Don Siegel and aided by a quirky
Ennio Morricone score, is an entertaining little spaghetti western
knockoff shot on location in Mexico. Story-wise, it's an old west
Heaven Knows Mr. Allison with a comic twist, and with an offbeat
nemesis in the French Army. The humorous chemistry between Eastwood's
Hogan and MacLaine's Sara at times clicks so well it's hard to believe
they reportedly didn't get along very well during production. Though
when it comes to Shirley MacLaine nothing really surprises me.
As far as Eastwood's post Spaghetti movies, he's rarely been in better form than this. Essentially continuing his man with no name persona, he gets far more dialogue this time around which fleshes out his character and makes him a little more three dimensional. It's a nice change of pace from the Leone westerns to hear Clint spout a few humorous lines and have the odd hilarious facial expression in between his trademark squinting and snarling and cigar chomping.
Disciples of Leone's trilogy may never warm up to an admittedly hammier Clint in this, but as Clint's Hollywood westerns go, this is a fun and well made duster. Shouldn't be missed.
Curious, unexpectedly talky western set in the Mexican desert. Drifter on horseback saves a nun from rape at the hands of bandits, she saves him by removing an arrow from his shoulder. The rapport between these two couldn't have looked very colorful on the printed page, but by God if stars Clint Eastwood and feisty Shirley MacLaine don't give it color and charisma. The writing isn't very expressive, and there's an odd drop-off in action after the opening sequence, but once you get attuned to the film's rhythm, it surprises you with its resonance. For action buffs, only the final shoot-out will please; for everyone else, a leisurely, though absorbing and entertaining, character-driven change-of-pace. *** from ****
This film is a nice change of pace for a Clint Eastwood Western. While
in some ways Clint's character isn't that much different from some of
his previous cowboys (he's great with a gun and is motivated by
greed....until the end...just like in FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE), the
chemistry of adding Shirley MacLaine really changes the film. Together,
they create an engaging, though not exactly believable pair. However,
despite being tough to believe, the film is so much fun and written and
acted so well, that you really don't mind.
The film itself was made in Mexico with many Mexican actors. This, combined with a somewhat restrained score by Ennio Morricone, make this movie look in many ways like a "Spaghetti Western", though it was financed and directed by Americans. For these reasons, the film is like a bridge from Eastwood's earlier westerns to his more recent ones.
About the only negative about the film other than how difficult it was to believe the plot at times, was that the "secret" about MacLaine's character didn't seem like that big of a surprise,...yet the supremely smart and savvy Eastwood had no idea! THIS was the hardest part to believe! However, the film is still great fun and well worth seeing. My wife, who hates westerns, actually watched it with me and enjoyed it so I guess this cowboy pic might have a wider audience than some westerns.
By the way, which mules, exactly, were they referring to?! This confusing title had me thinking that I must have missed something!
When the French army took control of the country we call Mexico, they counted on one factor to help them subdue the population, . . . fear! The use of Fear, through, intimation, torture, and outright execution worked, but not in the way they thought it would. The French brutality had an effect alright, it had the disastrous consequence of cementing the people, their friends and hundreds of mercenaries into an avenging force. Although there are many stories of the revolution, several stand out as movie classics. The Professionals, is one favorite, another is, "Two Mules for Sister Sara." In this story we have an American mercenary (Clint Eastwood) named Hogan who has bitter memories of the Civil War and decides to try for a quick Gold fortune in Mexico. He agrees to help Mexican Col. Beltran (Manuel Fabregas) take the French Garrison in exchange for half the treasury. Along the way, Hogan is joined by a traveling Catholic Nun, named Sister Sara (Shirley MacLaine) who has more secrets than just fear of being captured by the French. Innicially captured by three whiskey drinking rouges who strip, humiliate and threaten the beautiful Nun, she becomes a surprising and necessary ally. In their wondering, they save each other's life until the end, when Hogan is completely shocked with Sister Sara as she reveals her most guarded secret. I loved the movie, especially it's memorable and haunting theme at the beginning of the film. Superb! ****
It was a different kind of western with a surprising ending. Clint Eastwood and Shirley McClaine had great chemistry and gave great performances; especially Clint Eastwood. It was fun to watch with a good story line. Very entertaining!
The most used formula for Westerns would have to be this: approximately two
to five people thrown together by dire circumstances where they're forced
brave the wilds with only their wits, each other and maybe a couple rifles.
They focus mainly on character development, character interaction and the
bond that develops during these manliest of adventures. Now, given this,
what better combination of people is there than a nun and a cowboy? You're
right! There isn't any!
Now just because the leading lady is a nun, don't think there isn't any sexual tension. It's sexual tensions abound! Not only that but it's a fun, well-made movie. Shirley MacLaine was great and, lets face it, Clint Eastwood was born to make westerns. Well, maybe not "make" them ... but he's a great cowboy. Well directed, well paced, good story, good acting and it stars a nun and a cowboy. The opening music didn't "do it" for me but even that would probably grow on me. I fully endorse this movie. Look for "Two Mules for Sister Sara" T-shirts with myself in the background giving the thumbs-up.
Don Siegel's "Two Mules For Sister Sara" starring Clint Eastwood and
Shirley MacLaine is certainly not one of the brilliant Westerns with
Eastwood, but it is a very well directed, greatly acted and very
amusing little Western comedy with good wit that highly entertains.
Eastwood, who is cool as always, and the lovable MacLaine match
perfectly, and the plot has some nice twists (although it should be
said that some of the 'twists' are not really too surprising).
After gunsling Hogan (Eastwood) saves a nun named Sara (MacLaine) from a bunch of guys who wanted to rape her in the middle of the desert by shooting them, he now has to take care of her, which annoys him. It's a time of revolution against the French in Mexico, and while Hogan, who is interested in quick money, will fight for whichever side pays well (which happens to be the revolutionaries), his new traveling companion Sara is very obviously an idealistic supporter of the revolutionary Juaristas...
As mentioned above, "Two Mules For Sister Sara" can in no way come up to the brilliance of Eastwood movies such as Leone's Dollar Trilogy (few movies can) or Eastwood's very own "High Plains Drifter" of 1973. Nevertheless, it is a good little western with a lot of charm and wit, which provides an exciting story, action and great entertainment as well as many good laughs. Clint Eastwood has always been the epitome of coolness, especially in his Westerns, and MacLaine is great in her role of the feisty sister Sara. Overall, "Two Mules For Sister Sara" is a highly entertaining Western Comedy, that will not leave anybody bored. Recommended! 7/10
This movie was definitely worth seeing. I only heard of it once on this site for a Shirley MacLaine movie, but when I saw it in the store, I immediately baught it. Then I came home and watched it, and I LOVED IT! The scenes are both funny and somewhat heart-warming at the same time (if you consider "Sober up! You better sober up you b*****d or I'm going to kill you!" heartwarming.) Clint Eastwood was terrific as the "no good Atheist" drunk cowbody and Shirley MacLaine was even better as the "nun gone wrong". I highly recommend this movie to those who want to laugh and admire the romance. A perfect 10.
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