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This movie appears to have been an on the job training exercise for the Coppola family. It doesn't seem to know whether to be an "A" or a "B" western. I mean, the hero is called Hopalong Cassidy for God's sake. William Boyd must be spinning in his grave.
All the "B" western cliches are here. The two-gun pearly toothed hero in the white hat with the trusty steed ("C'mon Thunder"), the all-in-black bearded villain, the heroine in distress, the rancher in trouble, the cowardly sheriff, over the top bad guys etc.
The acting, with few exceptions, is strictly from the Yakima Canutt School of Acting. Chris Lybbert (who?) as the hero and Louis Schweibert (who?) as the villain look like they would have been more at home in a 30's Poverty Row quickie. The addition to the cast of veteran performers Martin Sheen, Robert Carradine, Clu Gulager and Will Hutchins helps a little, but they are not given enough to do to salvage this one.
What was the point of the Martin Sheen/Robert Carradine framing sequences? Are we to believe that the Sheen character was a ghost? What was the purpose of the black gloves? It just didn't make sense.
Being a great lover of westerns from all genres, I tried hard to find some redeeming qualities in this film. The cinematography was quite good and the settings looked very authentic. Aside from the hero and main villain, the other characters looked authentic.
If the producers were going to resurrect the Hopalong Cassidy character, they might have given some thought to portraying him as he was originally written - a grizzled foul-mouthed ranch hand with a chip on his shoulder, the kind of part Lee Marvin would have excelled in.
What else can I say but..on Thunder, on big fellow.
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