It's a damn shame this cheering slice of deep-friend southernsploitation fun seems to have slipped through the cracks of b-movie cinema for good. Adapted by Elmore Leonard from one of his books, this story, taking place during the end of Prohibition and two months before Roosevelt's election, of a gang of bootleggers led by a middle-aged Richard Widmark trying to get ahold of a large amount of whiskey stashed away by hillbilly Alan Alda, is as unassuming as it is riveting in its own pulpy way. Certain moments of distinctly Leonard-esquire badassitude, such as a scene where Widmark's top dog, played by songwriter Lee Hazlewood of all people, makes a couple strip in a cafe, is right up there with the 'ticket scene' in HOMBRE. Ex-film noir star with a prolific career behind him, Richard Widmark in the role of gang leader Dr. Emmett Taulbee seems to be having the time of his life, Patrick McGoohan is quite good in a role screaming for Warren Oates and Alan Alda is kind of lost in the general excitement. Nothing out of the ordinary here, just a solid, unpretentious, southern-flavoured b-movie, with a crackling script and some good performances, it would probably develop a cult following if it had a DVD release.
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