In Apache territory, a supply army column heads for the next fort, an ex-scout searches for the killer of his Indian wife, and a housewife abandons her husband in order to re-join her Apache lover's tribe.
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.
Outlaw Luther Sledge and sidekick Mallory pull into the town of 3 W for an overnight stay. While Sledge heads upstairs to spend the night with long-time prostitute friend Ria and a bottle of rye, his sidekick Mallory enters a game of poker downstairs in the saloon. Frustrated with loosing their money to Mallory, two of the other gamblers shoot him dead. Alerted to the downstairs gunshot noise, Sledge descends in the saloon, pretending he's drunk, catches the two gamblers unprepared and shoots them dead. An old man who witnessed the shooting offers to serve as Sledge's witness and swear it was self-defense in case of an inquiry. The next day, Sledge leaves town to meet with the rest of his gang in the hills. He notices the old man from the saloon following him on horseback some distance away. Sledge stops the old man and asks him why he is following behind. The old man explains that he is not following Sledge but rather a convoy escorting a gold shipment. Interested, Sledge takes him ... Written by
When Sledge shoots Hooker, he falls down face first. In the next shot, he is lying on his back. See more »
You're feelin' mean, 'cause you know that gold can't be taken, and you've seen it yourself. And I tell ya', if you try to take it, you're gonna' wind up dead, or in prison. And that's the closest you'll ever get to it, through six inches of steel. I know: I been closer to that gold INside, than any man OUTside. And I tell ya', it can't be taken.
[Reflects for a moment]
Oh, yes it can! Yeeehaaw!
[Throws an empty whiskey bottle in the air and shoots it as it falls]
I knew it, I knew it all the time...
[...] See more »
The Columbia Pictures logo does not appear on this film. See more »
Released in 1970 and directed by Vic Morrow (and Giorgio Gentili), "A Man Called Sledge" stars James Garner as the leader of an outlaw gang, who experience gold fever after hearing about a cache of gold temporarily stored at a desert prison. They hatch a harebrained heist, but things go awry due to their greedy obsessions. Dennis Weaver and Claude Akins play members of the gang while John Marley appears as an old man who joins them. Laura Antonelli is on hand as the striking babe while Wayde Preston appears as the sheriff.
Aside from his TV work with shows like Maverick and Cheyenne, Garner only appeared in nine Westerns with just four being serious Westerns (rather than comedy-tinged Westerns). "A Man Called Sledge" was the last of those four and his character, Luther Sledge, is a far cry from likable gambler Bret Maverick or heroic Jess Remsberg in "Duel at Diablo" (1966) or the determined Wyatt Earp in "Hour of the Gun" (1967). Even as an outlaw, though, Garner still has his genial charm, but when innocents start dying due to his lucre-hungry schemes he pretty much loses all sympathy. And his band of owlhoots get zero sympathy from the get-go.
While often referred to as a Spaghetti Western, "Sledge" is actually a Dino De Laurentiis production with an American director/writer (Morrow) and main cast, but shot in Spain with Italians and other Europeans in peripheral positions (cast & production); for instance, the Spaghetti-flavored music by Gianni Ferrio.
The movie comes across as a mish-mash of Sergio Leone Westerns, "The War Wagon" (1967), "Mackenna's Gold" (1969), "The Wild Bunch" (1969) and "There was a Crooked Man" (1970). But with a few imaginative elements, such as the wintery opening, which is rare for a Western, and the funeral component at the Mexican village in the final act, not to mention the quirky late 60s-ish theme song repeated throughout. Also the opening gunfight in the saloon is thrilling and I like how the film closes with a pretty moving moral. It's even haunting. Unfortunately, the movie features some clumsy editing in the third act starting with the card game and the immediate aftermath.
The film runs 93 minutes and was shot in Almeria, Andalucia, Spain, and Rome (interiors). WRITERS: Morrow, Frank Kowalski & Massimo D'Avak.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?