Fans of Brando will love it, others might look at their watch.
2 May 2002
Prison escapee Brando (wearing only slightly less eye makeup than Liz Taylor in "Cleopatra") sets out to punish ex-friend Malden, but takes time out to romance Malden's step-daughter in this adult psychological western. The film was started by Stanley Kubrick, but when he took a hike, Brando stepped in to finish directing the film (his only effort behind the camera.) Several things about the film are striking. One is the dust/sand. This is a dusty, sandy movie! Even "Lawrence of Arabia" may not have had this much dust a' blowin'. Also unusual is the setting (oceanside.) Then there is the attention to the psyche. Rare for an early '60's western, the characters' thoughts and motivations are examined quite fully. Another striking feature is the parade of posed, extended shots of Brando merely staring. One might call these vanity shots.....especially if the subject of them is also directing the film! He also has a tendency to stick his behind and crotch in front of the camera. The story has a beginning, a middle and an end, but sometimes getting to them takes a while. The movie is just plain too long. It's not that it isn't compelling, but a few judicious cuts would have made it EXTREMELY compelling. Brando does a decent job (if one can understand all his patented mumbling), but Malden is the revelation. People familiar with him only from American Express commercials and "The Streets of San Francisco" will be amazed at the range he offers here. He is so much more menacing and sinister than most will remember him having been before. It's neat to see the two former costars of "A Streetcar Named Desire" square off. Another good performance comes by way of Pickens (who would later reunite with Malden in the deadly "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure".) He is a very effective redneck deputy. There's some nice work by relatively unknown actress Pellicer as Malden's step-daughter. Though her voice in her first scene seems inappropriately low, she improves throughout and does a fine job. Jurado has less to do as her mother, but still scores. Brando has a few sidekicks along for the ride. Johnson does well as a ruthless wanted man and Gilman (a costar in no less than five other Brando films) is okay. The film has some great scenery and some strong music. It's worst detriment is it's length which bogs down the sometimes slight story.
41 out of 54 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink

Recently Viewed