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Remember the days when Joe Namath was a sex symbol? You can relive his glory years by catching this otherwise dreadful faux-spaghetti western. Joe plays an ex-Confederate soldier out to make it rich with buddy Jack Elam. When Joe decides to 'act', he raises his eyebrows and smirks...ever so slightly. More memorable is Jon Lord and Tony Ashton's entirely inappropriate soundtrack. A little Deep Purple pomposity here, an Ashton, Gardner and Dyke power ballad there...apparently producer Larry Sprangler wasn't about to pay for a decent composer like Morricone, Piccioni, or Umiliani.
I came across this movie this morning. I was going to change the channel, but I saw the hair, I saw the back. It was Joe Namath! He was, and still is, as gorgeous as could be. I had a huge crush on him when I was a kid; I turned 35 last Thursday. Who doesn't remember his coming to see Bobby on "The Brady Bunch"? The movie, however? Wanted to send a lot of messages, but failed at all of them. It wanted to prove you could find true love, it wanted to let you know it's horrible to hate, it wanted to rescue little boys and even the soul of someone who doesn't seem too bright. No offense to Joe, because he's a pretty good actor, but who could do anything with that script? The soft-porn scenes with the two Mexican actresses was just stupid. And the scene he had with Pearl, who says (something like), "You Rebel." where he just smiles like it's a Pearl Drops commercial...very sad. The best line in the whole movie, and the one where Joe shows some comic timing, is the stand-off in Pearl's when the guy gets shot in the arm. He has his hands raised, and then says, "I can't hold them up much longer, you know?" Joe just looks at him like he's an idiot and says, "Put 'em down." Clint Eastwood would have paid money for that line. Good man, bad movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Freshman director Denys McCoy's post American Civil War western "The
Last Rebel" with Joe Namath, Jack Elam, Woody Strode, and Ty Hardin
amounts to a sorry excuse for a horse opera. Indeed, "Beyond the Law"
scenarist Warren Kiefer and co-scripter Rea Redifer have fashioned an
entirely believable, hopelessly predictable and happily simple oater
about two Confederate soldiers that fall out with each other and shoot
up a town in Missouri. The best thing about this amateurishly lensed
and edited western is the anachronistic orchestral score that Jon Lord
and Tony "Deep Purple" Aston provided. It is easy to understand why
Denys McCoy dropped out of sight after "The Last Rebel," since he
couldn't stage suspenseful action scenes. The next best thing is the
Harper's Weekly wood cuts of the Civil War that appear behind the
The setting is southwest Missouri in the spring of 1865. The Federal troops are dug in on one side of the river, while the Confederate troops have fortified themselves on the opposite bank. Matt Graves (Jack Elam of "Kansas City Confidential") spots a duck splashing about in the river. He rouses Burnside Hollis (Joe Namath of "Avalanche Express") and Hollis grabs his rifle. A Union rifleman takes aim at the duck, but Hollis blows the bird out of the water with one shot. The Union sharpshooter grumbles with feeling, "That reb never misses."
Nine minutes into the storyline, a Confederate messenger arrives and informs the lieutenant that Lee has surrendered in Virginia and that they have to lay down their arms. The lieutenant (Herb Andress of "Lady Frankenstein") rides out to meet a Union officer (Sebastian Segriff) in the middle of the river to discuss terms of surrender. The Union officer warns him that he must display a white flag. Before the Confederate lieutenant can pull a white flag to stick on his saber, the Yankees cut him down in a hail of gunfire. Burnside Hollis decides that he doesn't want to wind up in a Federal prison camp so he skedaddles and Matt follows him. They ride off and don't stop until they spot a southern lynch mob about to hang a former Union soldier, Duncan (Woody Strode of "The Professionals"), and Hollis demands his release. He gives Duncan a horse to ride and scatters the southerners.
Later that evening, Matt gets a lot off his chest. He confides in Hollis. "I don't like the way things are going. What I mean is, here we are, two busted rebels out in the middle of nowhere, with a rock (Duncan) in our pocket. The way I see it, we been running so long we don't know how to do nothing else. It's time that we stopped and dug our heels in." Matt is the schemer of the bunch.
Hollis trusts Duncan, but Matt doesn't share Hollis' sentiments toward Duncan. Our heroes find a stagecoach with a dead man in it and a young girl. When they arrive in town with the stagecoach, Hollis and Matt tell the sheriff (a bearded Ty Hardin of "PT-109") about what happened. He wants them to get out of town in an hour. Our heroes cheerfully ignore him and set themselves up over at Pearl's place, a sort of saloon & cathouse. Meanwhile, Matt obtains Hollis a suit of clothes that only a tin-horn would wear. Hollis sucks a pool hustler and takes him for every cent. Basically, he wins about $4-thousand dollars and he entrusts it for safe keeping with Duncan so that he can enjoy himself in the arms of Pearl (Victoria George of "El Dorado") Matt demands his share of the loot. Hollis tells him that he gave it all to Duncan but he doesn't know Duncan's whereabouts. Hollis tracks down Duncan. Duncan, it seems, had taken the cash and hidden it in his double-barreled shotgun. Mattmasquerading as the Klu Klux Klansneaks up on them and arrests them. They have Hollis and Duncan dig a deep hole and then toss in knives to see who will survive. Our heroes surprise the bad guys and decimate them with the help of a young African-American youth (Bruce Eweka) who wields a rifle.
Later, Matt teams up with the sheriff, but their alliance is short-lived when Duncan drops the lawman with both barrels of his double-barreled shotgun and Hollis drill him once for good measure. One of Matt's trigger-happy pistoleros shoots Pearl. This is the only surprising thing about "The Last Rebel," since the Pearl character had done nothing wrong. Hollis resolves to kill the assassin. He wants to confront Matt out on main street, but by this time, Matt's men have started a fire. Duncan laments the fire. "It'd be nice to use that front door once." Hollis smashes through a window, lands in the street and starts blasting away, while Duncan joins him. Hollis strikes a heroic pose as the fire consumes Pearl's place in the blazing inferno behind him.
"The Last Rebel" qualifies as an execrable oater. Joe Namath isn't much of an actor. In all fairness to Namath, the role of Burnside Hollis didn't give him much to work with to craft a character. When Hollis decides to ride back to town to save the girl, Duncan observes, "That's playing a damn fool." Hollis replies, "Well, I guess I never was much else." Jack Elam as the principal villain, Woody Strode as the ex-Union soldier, and Ty Hardin as a corrupt sheriff fare better in their respective roles. Ty Hardin has a great death scene in the lobby of the bordello where he gets riddled with bullets. Aside from the knowledge that this movie was shot in Rome, "The Last Rebel" doesn't at all resemble a spaghetti western. Cinematographer Carlo Carlini's work here is pathetic compared with his stupendous work on "Death Rides A Horse." When "The Last Rebel" came out, it was still acceptable to refer to African-Americans by the 'n' word.
Everything about this film was beyond awful. I can't think of any more criticisms than what previous reviewers have said. I gave it 2 stars for both of the only attractions I had to look at the movie: the attractive profiles & physiques of both Joe Namath & Woody Strode. They are both very nice to look at. I'll give 1 more star for a total of 3/10 for The Black Boy who almost silently serves as a catalysts for some of the action, out acts the rest in perhaps the best role in the film. But for this film you better turn the volume off. The sound editing and off the wall 70's sound track is torture. The plot was ridiculous and the ending provides no satisfaction. It doesn't even warrant achieving camp status. Its just irritating. Not too mention having to cringe through the repeated use of the N-word. Being the movie geek I pressed forward to the end in order to added to my list, but I will never put myself through viewing it a second time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is perhaps the worst movie ever made. It makes Ed Wood's creations
look like genius. Just as Elvis, Rick Nelson, and many other "sex
symbols" of their day were stuck into leading man roles, so too is Joe
Namath in this very forgettable Spaghetti Western.
The very thin plot takes his character, a rebel Captain who learns the war is over, but sees the brutality of the conquering Yankees and then frees a black man from the gallows who becomes his sidekick. They fall in with Jack Elam's character, who becomes p.o.'d when Joe wins a lot of money in a tedious pool shooting segment, and doesn't give Jack any jack! Jack enlists none other than the KKK to help him against Joe and his black friend (warning, the "N" word is often dropped). Add to this a corrupt sheriff played by former "Bronco Lane" Ty Hardin, and you have a weak plot, even weaker sets, night scenes clearly filmed during the day, and a most annoying soundtrack, to drive this movie into the annals of one of the all time worst movies ever made.
Having said that, there are some things that are so bad that they're good, but unfortunately this isn't one of them--it's just plain awful. However, it can still be fun to watch it you want to see Joe's really bad acting, together with his high pitched voice, and terrible acting from the many women he beds, as well as the real actors--Elam and Hardin, trying to suppress laughter during their scenes.
Yes, I've seen worse films but this was so bad they had trouble keeping horses during the shooting; the critters would all run off at night. To say Joe Willie's talents lay elsewhere would be the understatement of the decade. His dismal performance wasn't all that noticeable, however, because everybody else stunk like a week old corpse in a broken icebox during a Texas heat wave. Even Elam, one of my all time faves, couldn't keep a straight face in many of his scenes. There was so much ham in this turkey that if Jimmy Dean bought it he would have to open up a new building to process all the pork. Seldom have I seen a greater collection of grinning jackasses than were displayed in this thinly plotted venture. The soundtrack was interesting but all that rock music never quite dovetailed with the action on the screen.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I think it's fair to say that excellence on the gridiron didn't
translate very well to the big screen for Joe Namath. If I hadn't seen
this Western flick I wouldn't have believed how bad an actor he could
be. Maybe he was better in other film appearances but you couldn't
prove it here.
I guess it didn't help that the story wasn't all that intriguing. Namath's character 'Captain' Hollis and partner Matt Graves (Jack Elam) have just learned that the Civil War is over and decide to ditch the Confederate cause straightaway. They stumble upon a lynching party about to hang a black man (Woody Strode), and making the save, the three ride off together to a nearby town. As Hollis suckers a pool hall gambler into forking over a huge pile of cash at a hundred dollars a ball, Matt feels it's only fair that he be cut in for a good portion of the loot. This enterprising concept of income redistribution didn't sit well with Hollis, who trusted his new accomplice Duncan (Strode) with the money while Hollis turned to what he really knew best. That would be entertaining the ladies.
Filmed in Rome, one might think this flick would have a spaghetti Western flavor, but none of the essential elements are there. The biggest disconnect is the music; since I regularly enable captioning while watching movies, I was particularly amused at one point to read that 'classic rock music' was playing. Not that I needed to be informed that way, my ears heard what was going on but it was like punctuating how out of character the sounds were with what was occurring on screen.
As a curiosity piece this might merit your taking the ninety minutes or so to see the former New York Jet in a film role, but don't expect much. The acting is bland and just as in the oaters of the Forties and Fifties, a fair amount of horseback riding and scenery shots are used for filler. Virtually unrecognizable to me was old Bronco Layne himself, Ty Hardin from the late Fifties TV series. If you make it past the first hour, you'll definitely groan when Jack Elam shows up in KKK garb to make another run for Hollis's cash.
The one redeeming item in this awful, awful western about a couple of
ex-confederate soldiers wandering around the old West -- hey, everyone
digs a rebel, even if they were rebelling so they could keep slaves --
is the camera work by Carlo Carlini. However, it isn't enough by a wide
I was going to write that Jack Elam's typically straightforward semi-comic performance was also noteworthy, but it simply emphasizes the awfulness of Joe Namath's performance. Woody Strode is as good as he can be, although he does look embarrassed, as if he wants to be back in the dignity of a Bomba the Jungle Boy movie.
As for Broadway Joe, he sounds querulous every time he speaks a line, as if he's about to stamp his foot and run off. They don't even let him move that much, just pose him and let him stand, which argues that one of the best running quarterbacks of the 1960s did not know how to move. Usually they didn't even shoot him full length, unless he was lying down with his shirt off so you can see him carefully-shimmed armpit hair.
But if there is one thing that makes this a terrible movie, it's the music score. I know that if you want to evoke the dirt and grit of the Old West, there's nothing like Motown-inspired Rock-and-Roll organ work and drumset to do it and that's what they did here. That must've been a great help at the box office.
This movie is #1 on my all time worst movie list. Besides the fact that it has no plot, and that Joe Nameth is a mediocre actor at best; it is a western set to "modern" 1970's music. Very strange. No wonder it was listed as "To Be Announced" in the paper. My mom and I first saw this in the mid-1970's and even back then, we joked that the name of the film should be "Joe Nameth Goes to Mexico to Get Laid". That is basically the entire plot. Joe was a great football player and some people thought he was handsome, but that does not necessarily mean the man can act. Do yourself a favor and skip this movie, unless you are curious just to see how bad a movie can be.
If you thought movies could not get worse than Solar Crisis or any
other film abandoned to the name of Alan Smithee, this will give you
hope in the F movie genre, no Ed O'Ross or Wings House here.
The editing is non-existent, there are no transitions between scenes, the music is constantly morphing from fusion jazz, classic country, pre-techno/industrial and back again. The actors seem lost, Jack Elam had one of the ugliest mugs in cinematic history, Joe 'Wooly' Namath hopefully has forgotten this monstrosity of a spaghetti western.
This film is pure concentrated evil that should have been left buried in its infernal tomb, but nevertheless Encore/Starz felt it was necessary to force suffering on their ad-hoc loyal viewers.
You will be in shock and awe that such a heap could ever have been made, i cant spoil the plot because there was none discernible in the mess of the Last Rebel.
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