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Joe Lo Presti
Musical Treasure Island, relocated to the Wild West
What a curious little film. Let me try to describe it to you: a one-legged outlaw in the Wild West takes a couple of kids and a bunch of fellow outlaws in search of buried gold. The plot is basically just a borrowed hotch-potch of ideas from Treasure Island, spruced up unconvincingly with songs, and thinly disguised by transporting it away from the Caribbean to the vast open plains of the Wild West.
There are some well-known faces involved in the muddle. Kirk Douglas plays the main character (he also directed); Mark Lester from Oliver plays one of the kids; Lesley Ann Down (ravishing, you may remember, in Sphinx) plays the other kid; and Danny Devito is in it too as one of the outlaws. For such a collection of talent, you'd have thought there must have been a decent script.... wrong!
Douglas often groans about the film, saying it was ineffective and a bad experience for a first-time director. As much as I like the guy, I can't disagree with him on that score. The acting is OK and the scenery looks nice, but the film just lacks passion and excitement and vibrancy. It was a nice idea, but the execution fails it. Maybe someone will remake it one day and do a much better job.
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