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What was so bad about it!?
ThePhrozenPhoenix9 August 2007
So I bought a new box set of Elvis movies. In it was "Charro." I thought it looked refreshing to see Elvis play a more serious role instead of the usual musical. I did some research and found this generally to be poorly received. Well I watched the film anyway. . .

I honestly was expecting this to be utter garbage. The first five minutes went by. I thought it was pretty good so far - I was wondering when it would start to suck. 20 minutes go by. I was being drawn into the plot and finding the action riveting and exciting, with a nice musical score, too (Still isn't bad yet).

Then I get to the climax - - - Original and intense. What was so bad about it? The acting was solid, it had a good script, and I found it a very pleasurable experience. Is it just the general bias towards any Elvis film after the '50s or is it because it's not some hoity toity British trash? I say, if you're a fan of westerns and/or Elvis. You should certainly give this movie a chance.

*** / **** stars.
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my favorite Presley pic
Frank-873 January 1999
I don't know what makes me enjoy this movie more, being an Elvis fan or being a fan of western movies (my favorite is El Dorado).

This movie shows some pretty good acting, an impressive soundtrack, beautiful cinematography, some wild action and an Elvis, that is pretty rough and tough. Warren hadn't made a movie for ten years before "Charro" and I think he shouldn't have been producer, writer AND director. He did his weakest job as the writer, his directing is a lot better, but I wonder what Peckinpah might have done out of this story. In fact the two-former-friends-now-enemies plot is typical for Peckinpah. The story reflects a lot of Elvis' own career, most obvious: the bad guy in "Charro" USES the Elvis character to make money, which is exactly what Elvis' real life manager did, too, in fact that guy (who called himself Colonel, although he wasn't) was highly unscrupulous and Elvis too weak (sorry fellow fans but let's face the truth!) to have his own way. This often underrated movie is highly recommendable to anyone who likes western movies. Let me add that this movie is NOT a musical; in one scene Elvis is opening a door to look into a saloon where a band is playing, in one of his awful musical comedies, the man would jump onto the stage and perform some tune, but here he turns around and closes the door.
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A must see. Elvis is an ex-outlaw trying to go straight.
Michael O'Keefe29 November 1999
Elvis Presley plays Jesse Wade who tries to leave a gang of thieves led by Victor French. Jesse's neck is branded in order to frame him for stealing a Mexican war cannon. Jesse becomes sheriff as one of the gang is arrested. The bad guys now threaten the town with cannon fire until the leaders little brother is released from jail. Elvis sings only the title song under the credits. This is a different Elvis, with beard and a hat hung low over his eyes. Well known critic, Leonard Maltin, calls this a BOMB! Produced, directed and written by Charles Marquis Warren, this flick is better than the bad rap it has received. Also in the cast are Ina Balin, Solomom Sturgess, and Lynn Kellogg.
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Don't agree with first comment
DHK529809 May 2005
As much as I like Flaming Star, I like Charro a whole lot more. Elvis's acting was more refined. You could tell he was better trained than in some earlier films. Yes, it's a western, and westerns are hardly ever Oscar material. But in its own genre, it's very entertaining. The plot is as good as any other western movie I've seen, John Wayne notwithstanding, and the acting (again for the genre) was quite good. I wish Elvis had been allowed to make more serious movies. As much as I like most of his musicals, the three dramatic ones (Love Me Tender, Flaming Star, and Charro) and his supporting appearance in Change of Habit, were by far the best and the ones that showed his real talent for acting.
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Could have been a masterpiece, with Sergio Leone at the helm...
Shane Paterson6 July 2002
This was intended as a totally different kind of role for Elvis. It's the only movie in which Elvis does not sing at all (the theme song is played over the main titles). Unfortunately, the film doesn't really get off the ground. Not far off the ground, anyway. It's a real pity, too, because Elvis could have been superb and the movie a modern classic. Now it's just an interesting departure in a property sabotaged by substandard production values and script.

Elvis acts well throughout but not as well and convincingly as in the other Western drama that he did, 1960's "Flaming Star." The passage of eight years had dulled Elvis' enthusiasm for film-making and, hard on the heels of the taping of his phenomenal 1968 TV special (taped in late June) and one year before his July, 1969 return to the stage, Elvis' mind was on other things. Elvis, so eager in 1956 to get into dramatic roles, had become jaded by the fiscal realities that dictated that he squander his prodigious talent (to a great extent, at least) on subpar fare. Elvis does a competent job in "Charro!" but at some points he does not really seem to be 'into it.' I find that somewhat surprising, because Elvis loved guns, horses, and playing cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers and the film could have been a blast for him to do. I'm sure that he enjoyed some of the role's physicality, including the horseplay, gunplay, and fisticuffs, but at times he appears bored. In truth, this apparent ennui on Elvis' part is probably less a result of cumulative boredom with and contempt for the path that his film career had taken and more a reflection of him really not being given much to do within the script. The role could have been a lot grittier and Elvis' character more active and proactive. The branding scene and subsequent beating of Elvis' character is pretty brutal, but other than that most of the film seems sanitized. Yep, it has its violent spots but I think that it would have profited from more of it and more of a menacing feel, overall. It's a spaghetti western,'s SUPPOSED to be down 'n' dirty, violent, and un-PC. It's got a definite made-for-TV look and feel about it, especially compared with the contemporary 'spaghetti westerns' that were so popular (and by which "Charro!" is obviously inspired) but even with older Hollywood fare like "Shane."

After a promising start, "Charro!" comes across to me as a little bit dull. It has its moments, but they're too few and far between. I wouldn't say that it is a bad film, just that it's a wasted opportunity. Then again, the film came so late in Elvis' Hollywood career, right at the cusp of his return to where he really belonged -- the concert stage -- that perhaps it wouldn't have made a difference had the film been all that it could have been. Still...

The ending is a major anticlimax and the entire film just sort of lurches toward denouement. The key fault is that the story is weak. It doesn't really go anywhere fast and much of the scripting is substandard. The cinematography is also extremely unimaginative -- the potential was great, with those central-Arizona locations, but it's never fully exploited. Sam Peckinpah or Sergio Leone would have had a field day. It's nice to see Elvis wandering around in the desert instead of being filmed against a studio backdrop. Elvis, as always, is utterly fantastic when he's being menacing, angry, or just directing a withering stare at somebody. His role as Jess Wade is just a little too soft -- well, what I'm saying is that if his role were more directly like Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name I think it'd play to some of Elvis' greatest acting strengths. Even without Clint's trademark squint, Elvis was always naturally adept at portraying a lot with just a look. Jesse Wade could still basically be a good guy without being all that nice about it.

Elvis looks cool in this movie, too. He'd have made a great spaghetti-western hero. The legend goes that Elvis felt uncomfortable with a beard and that the male members of the crew tried to put him at ease by growing their own facial hair out. Even Colonel Parker got in on the act.

The sad fact is that Elvis is terribly underutilized. So is everybody else. Just as I think that Elvis' character could have been at least a little harder, so could Victor French's bad guy have been...well..badder. I mean, he was bad, but he was no Lee Van Cleef. Overall, he and the supporting cast did a good job, but they, too, had little to work with. The fact that many were basically TV players perhaps only reinforced the TV-movie quality that I sense in this film. James Sikking (later the SWAT leader from "Hill Street Blues") revels in his role as 'Gunner' and Solomon Sturges is great as a psychotic outlaw. Ina Balin is also very good but she really doesn't have a big part in the film.

What this film really needed was Sergio Leone directing it with a stronger script. Think Elvis in the lead of "High Plains Drifter" -- it could have been done and it would have worked but, again, the material shortchanged the man's potential. The movie's poster promised "a different kind of role...a different kind of man," and it was a valiant effort. I like the film, overall, but it's far, far less than it might have been. At least they had Hugo Montenegro aboard for the music. I've always loved the ominous and atmospheric title song.

If only "Charro!" was a creative progeny of the excellent "Flaming Star," steeped in a late-60s spaghetti-western sensibility.
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Elvis at his best
kwbucsfan11 August 2001
Definately his best film. This film proves that Elvis could act. It's quite refreshing to see a film like this after some of those PATHETIC films like Paradise, Hawaiian Style, or Clambake. I give this movie five stars. Even if you're not an Elvis fan, I reccomend this movie. It's not your typical Elvis movie, and Elvis only sings in the opening credit. With the late Ina Balin and the late Victor French as the bad guy, this movie has a strong supporting cast.
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8/10 Elvis movie that wasn't so cheesy!
stalzz6422 January 2008
OK, I love Elvis movies a LOT, but he made some serious clunkers all in the name of the almighty dollar and contracts Col. Parker made him sign. Why Elvis couldn't break away and do more films like this, we'll never know. We'll also never know 'what could have been', had Elvis escaped the movie musical grind sooner. This is a pretty good western, I have to say, and I have seen a LOT of westerns and I am a huge fan of the genre. It's pretty cool that he only sings the title song over the opening credits of Charro! and doesn't break into song in the middle of a scene like in his usual Hollywood formula musicals.

He was offered the Kris Kristofferson part in 'A Star Is Born', and I think he would have been GREAT in that. For whatever reason, he turned it down. He was more into making concert films at that time, plus he was deeply involved in his prescription drug addiction and had put on a lot of weight, so maybe those were big issues that kept him from doing more good film roles.

Elvis, I thank you for making Charro! I wish there had been more films like this in your Hollywood resume.
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High Noon for Elvis Presley
wes-connors17 August 2007
Elvis Presley plays an ex-gunman who has decided to reform. His decision is not well-received by his old gang. They beat him up, and enforce a grisly revenge - they "brand" him, to give him a scar identical to a man WANTED in two countries (Mexico and the USA). The "branding" is, possibly, the most gruesome scene you'll see in a Elvis movie.

This film has a classic Western Plot: Elvis is the representation of the Law - Badman gone good, friend of the Sheriff, and rival for a woman (Ina Balin). Elvis has imprisoned the brother of the Badman (Solomon Sturges, son of Preston). Head Badman Victor French is big brother to the jailed one. Mr. French has a deadly cannon - he says, "Release my brother, or I will blow up your town!" This movie is too rough-around-the-edges to be extraordinary; and, it doesn't tread on much new ground. It does, however, create a world of its own; if you let yourself into this world, you will be entertained for the run of the film. In that way, it's like many westerns - and as good as several "classic" John Wayne films.

Again, this is a rough-around-the-edges film - my vote for the roughest edges are: The background music is too hokey and repetitive; and, I found the Sheriff's wife's betrayal too abrupt to be believable - it is interesting in that it shows the relationship between Elvis and the Sheriff is stronger than the relationship between the Sheriff and his wife; although Elvis' first intent is to meet the Badman's demands by releasing the prisoner, he decides to honor the Sheriff's wishes.

The title song is very good; appropriately, there are no additional songs. The performances are fine - I would taken a little more time creating this film; still, everything about it ranges from adequate to professional. It sounds like an apology (because Elvis Presley made so many awful films), but I enjoyed "Charro!"

******* Charro! (1969) Charles Marquis Warren ~ Elvis Presley, Ina Balin, Victor French
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A surprisingly good Elvis film. Spoilers
BlackJack_B27 November 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Perhaps I was motivated to watch this film not because this wasn't going to be one of Elvis' 60's "fluff" films but because I hadn't shaved in awhile and this film is famed in the Presley canon for him having a beard and mustache. It was a very good film that kept me interested.

Charro! isn't about the eccentric Latin-American novelty singer (that would be Charo), but about Jess Wade, a former outlaw who wants to go straight. He rides into town looking for an old flame. Suddenly, his old gang, led by Vince Hackett (Victor French), ambush him and forces him to go with them to their hideout. The Hackett Gang have stolen a valuable "Victory Cannon" from Mexico but are going to have Jess Wade take the fall. To make it even worse for Wade, they described him as having a wound on his neck, so they hold him down and Vince burns his neck (perhaps Charro means "burn" in Spanish). They abandon him, but Wade gets back to town, where the people there support him. By chance, Vince's crazy brother Billy Roy (a brilliant performance by Solomon Sturges) comes in and tries to stir up trouble, but Wade is there. In the melee, Billy Roy shoots the sheriff. While the sheriff recuperates, Billy Roy is jailed. The Hackett gang now threatens Wade (who's now temporary sheriff) and the town to let Billy Roy go or have their town destroyed via the cannon.

I found the movie quite intriguing. I wanted to see how Wade would get his revenge on his old "friends". The acting is a cut above those "fluff" films, but Elvis still performs in his usual "thick-as-molasses-Southern-accent" way, just a bit meaner, though. Elvis always had great screen presence but his acting was hit-or-miss. The Southwest scenery is quite breathtaking, no doubt filmed near Elvis' favorite city (Las Vegas). The soundtrack is weak; Elvis sings the theme song at the beginning, but the rest of the music is just generic Western acoustic with that 60's flavour.

Still, this was a lot better than the Video Movie Guide rated it. Probably the best Elvis film I've seen in awhile besides Jailhouse Rock. Worth a look.
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elvis tries to outdo clint eastwood
lonniebealeusa23 May 2002
The movie Charro tried to save Elvis' acting career,unfortunately it was a case of too little too late. the movie had a lot of promise, a great musical film score,good supporting cast,and even a tolerable script, but you can see the interest has gone from Elvis'acting. Had he made this in the early '60's I am sure it would have made for a better film . It is obvious they based a lot of this on the successful Clint Eastwood "spaghetti" westerns but it lacks the sparkle of Sergio Leone direction.Compare Elvis' acting in this to Flaming Star and the difference is sadly noticable.
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Elvis goes the Eastwood route in this homage to the spaghetti western.
Harry Lags30 November 2017
Ex-outlaw Jess Wade (Elvis Presley) tries at going straight but is curtailed when his old gang finally catches up with him, and head bandit Vince Hackett (Victor French) has come up with a truly messed-up punishment. Elvis gets beat up pretty badly and left to die, but uses some basic survival skills and gets his revenge.

If you like Elvis, you won't be disappointed. Elvis, cowboys, horses, and beautiful shots of the Arizona desert, what more could you want in an evening's entertainment? Highly recommended for fans of westerns even if you are not a huge Elvis fan, as well as fans of Elvis even if you are not a huge western fan. If nothing else, "Charro" shows that Elvis could've easily been a Western hero in Eastwood's league if he chose to keep with it and got better scripts.

Elvis' acting in the movie Charro! is quite good. He seemed to have his heart into making this film and it shows.

Conclusion - Worth watching 7/10
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One of Elvis' better films.
Rainey Dawn25 June 2014
One of Elvis' better films. Charro! actually has a pretty good story and it doesn't have all the sexy girls dancing around Elvis as he sings. It's a fairly good spaghetti western film even if you are not crazy about Elvis. I will say that Charro! is right up there with the movie Flaming Star (another western Elvis film).

I cannot say that Charro! is an outstanding film - it does not have the quality of The Magnificent Seven or The Good, The Bad and the Ugly but Charro! is not unwatchable... it's not that bad of a movie either.

Elvis' acting in the movie Charro! is quite good. He seemed to have his heart into making this film and it shows.

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Straight Shooting Elvis Oater
zardoz-138 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Elvis Presley plays bearded soldier-of-fortune Jess Wade who is framed for the theft of a historic Mexican Victory cannon in writer & director Charles Marquis Warren's explosive horse opera "Charro!" by his chief nemesis Vince Hackett. Victor French has a field day as the obnoxious villain who sets Elvis up. He uses the cannon to wipe out a platoon of Mexican Federale troops during a border crossing. Elvis must have grown progressively tired with making the same old musical comedies with attractive co-stars where he warbled a song or two. In "Charro!," Elvis sings only one song, the title tune. He isn't shown singing this song. Hugo Montenegro provides an outstanding orchestral score with spunk. Meanwhile, French makes an excellent villain who has no qualms about killing. He is prepared to murder members of his own gang. After he captures Jess during a gunfight in a sleepy town and burns his neck with a branding iron to simulate a bullet crease, Vince lets the word spread that his former friend stole the cannon. Jess recovers from the branding, ropes a horse in the wilderness, and then rides back to the town where his girlfriend, Tracey Winters (Ian Balin of "The Comancheros") runs a saloon. Furthermore, Jess is friends with the local lawman, Dan Ramsey (James Almanzar), and he believes Jess had nothing to do with the theft. No sooner has Elvis arrived in town than Vince's young, hot-headed brother Billy Ray (Solomon Sturges) shows up itching for liquor and woman. Jess captures him and Sheriff Ramsay imprisons him, but Ramsay takes a shot in the arm. Ramsay winds up bed-ridden while Jess takes over as the town lawman. Vince demands the release of his brother or he threatens to blast the town to smithereens with the cannon. Elvis' fans didn't respond to this Spaghetti-style western. Nevertheless, "Charro!" is a good western.

The movie "Charro!" and the novelization that author Harry Whittington wrote are starkly different. For starters, Jess Wade and Vince Hackett don't know each other in the novel. Furthermore, Vince doesn't frame Jess for the theft of the weapon. Additionally, Vince's gang mows down the Federales as they cross the river with their rifles instead of the cannon. Whittington does have the scene when Jess smashes Billy Roy's head against the jail bars. The sheriff died during his fight with Billy Roy in the novel instead of lingering beside his wife in the movie.
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A Beard and A High-Starched Collar
Callum Gee27 February 2008
This is a wonderfully unique experience to watch 'The King' in this western-story setting as an ex-outlaw turned good. Elvis plays it straight equipped with a beard to fight his former gang of 'friends' - the leader of which is Victor French in a tour-de-force performance. A fine supporting cast which includes Ina Balin and Solomon Sturges turning in two admirable screen performances, helps to give Elvis' movie career a boost at this point in the 'Comeback' era of his musical oddyssey. "Charro!" is a fresh and uplifting western and is a welcome change to hear EP only sing one song in a movie, and this one is over the opening credits. Elvis delivers a good character portrayal of Jess Wade, and isn't as stereotyped as some of the previous characters from the other films from his mid-60's celluloid repertoire. I think any western/Elvis fan would view this as more than just a 'curiosity piece' because it does turn out to be quite an engaging 94 minutes. You almost forget that it's the man himself on screen who we are so used to watching being surrounded by Girls, Bikini's, Cotton Candy, and racing cars. The movie also features some beautiful Arizona cinematography. Recommended.
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No a bad Elvis
ryancm10 December 2007
Been viewing a lot of Elvis' movies of late, and I must say this is one of his best. Certainly heads over most of his "dumbell" musicals he made in the mid 60's. Somehow his first few films are much better than his later ones. CHARRO has in interesting story line and is done in a professional fashion. By that I mean real locations for the exteriors, which is a switch from the cardboard and rear projection effects of his earlier films. Elvis looks very good here, better than some of his previous efforts. He seemed a bid pudgy in a lot of his musicals, but in this one he's trim and looks great in a beard. He does seem to "sleep walk" thru some of his scenes, and there could have been more action, but it's certainly a better film than some of the video guide books make it. Compare this film with FRANKIE AND JOHNNY; KISSIN' COUSINS; PARADISE, HAWAIIAN STYLE; and especially horrible films like HARUM, SACARUM, and CHARRO looks pretty damn good. If you like Elivs, and why would you be reading this if you weren't then CHARRO is a must see. Too bad he didn't make more like this. His next two were pretty bad. Oh, and the actor who played Billy Roy was a "tad" over-the-top.
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A movie with my three favorite actors
junertcb3 March 2006
As far as I am concerned, "Charro" is a great movie. I am a lifelong fan of Elvis Presley and love actor, Victor French, who has appeared in a lot of television westerns such as "Gunsmoke" and "Bonanza". I was thrilled to sit down and watch a film with them both in it. Imagine my surprise and delight to see another of my all-time favorites..Tony Young! When I was a young girl, growing up in England, my parents loved Westerns above all else on television. "Gunslinger" was fantastic and I hadn't seen a man as handsome as Tony Young, since I discovered Elvis. I am also a lover of Western films and think that "Charro" is a darn good movie..great storyline and characters and the music is just great. In fact, the song, "Charro" is one of my favorite Elvis songs and I always play it in the jukebox when I go to a certain hamburger restaurant in the Graceland Plaza area near the mansion, in Memphis. I am saddened to think that all three of these gorgeous men died relatively young. They left so much behind and made a lot of people happy. May they rest in peace.
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Third and passable Western for Elvis Presley and in Italian style
ma-cortes24 September 2008
Jess Wade (Elvis Presley in a straight role , being the only character in which he wears beard) is a reformed outlaw confronting against the members of his old band . The violent band is commanded by Hackett (Victor French of House of prairie) and the hoodlums are Gunner (James B Sikking, future TV star) and his brother Billy (Salomon Sturges, son of famed director Preston Sturges), among others . The gang has robbed from a little town a gold-plated cannon which was used by Emperor Maximilian in his failed battle against popular Mexican revolutionary Benito Juarez . Only Jess Wade can save the town people and his previous girlfriend (Ina Balin , in one of her few movie roles) from his former bunch .

Elvis in a different kind of role , his third Western after 'Love me Tender' and 'Flamingo Star' ; being shot on location at the Apacheland Movie Ranch . Here was given a new opportunity to prove himself as a serious actor and represented a radical departure for him . He considered an important feature and it's indicated by the choice of supporting cast and director . Elvis did agree , exceptionally , to sing the title credits , but there are no songs within the body of the movie . Elvis sports a scruffy beard and a gritty look whose model was obviously the Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Western . Jess Wade character is costumed similarly to Clint Eastwood's 'Man with no name'. Both wore beard , dust-covered and kept a tough demeanor with a cigar in their mouths . Many of the movie's crew and some members of the Memphis friends grew beards to match Elvis's while the picture was in production . Even Colonel Parker , Elvis's manager , grew his beard .

The motion picture was shot on location in and around Arizona's Superstition mountains . Although the film provided Elvis with one of his opportunities to play tough roles , the movie's producers were nervous about the reaction of fans . However , the film was a modest hit and had awful critiques , it was not particularly well received by the legions of Elvis Presley fans who were disappointed by the lack of musical numbers . In fact , this is the only movie in which Elvis doesn't sing , the only song is the one during the titles . Unfortunately , the picture was a dismal critical flop , much of the blame was placed at the feet of director Charles Marquis Warren . Being final film for this director . He was screenwriter, producer and director for Charro , and had previously directed several successful Westerns for cinema and television .
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The ONLY decent flick Elvis ever made
raysond21 July 2001
I got a chance to view this flick recently on a local cable channel,and to my surprise since this was an western in utmost sense of the word,I came to like it tremendously. Great acting in all parts,and it was the ONLY movie where Elvis Presley didn't get up on a stage surrounded by lots of girls and sing a lot of songs,but NO siree,here is "the king" finally in a role where he plays a tough guy who gets even with a bunch of rowdies who set him up for something he didn't do. He really does get even here and it shows! It may have been good but here Elvis is damn good and probably the best flick he ever did that was surpassed his career. Even though its is a western it is violent,I mean violent to the core but you gotta love it! This was my all-time Elvis flick and I really enjoyed it! Worth seeing. And if you thought that Elvis was more than a singing and prancing personality with a guitar who is surrounded by lots of girls and its just the music within the whole picture, then you are sadly mistaken!!!! "Charro"! gave Elvis that chance to improve on his acting abilities and here it shows it in grand detail. The ONLY song that he sings is in the beginning of the credits.
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"My brother's the only man alive who can call me an idiot."
classicsoncall29 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
When I first saw Elvis in the film as the bearded desperado Jess Wade, I thought Wow! - what if his career had taken a turn like, say, Clint Eastwood's. Elvis Presley as Rowdy Yates on 'Rawhide'. Back when Elvis was lean and good looking, the independent wrangler approach might have taken him into spaghetti Westerns, and since he could also sing, one can only imagine the possibilities.

As it is, Presley provides a fairly competent presence to his character in "Charro!", but as the film wears on, so does he. Though arguably one of his better films, it seems like the thrill is gone at a time in his career when 'The King' was attempting a major comeback. The bearded face does indeed create an amazing transformation of the Elvis persona, and is one of the highlights of the picture. It doesn't go far enough though; without achieving that flat out Lee Van Cleef mean, and matched against an adversary who's also less than sheer malevolence, the movie loses much of it's potential.

The film's finale in fact seems to blow up as quickly as one of those cannon fired dynamite packets. When Vince Hackett (Victor French) falls apart and simply gives up, what the heck happened to Gunner (James Sikking) and Mody (Charles H. Gray)? I mean, they just disappeared! Then, as the town re-groups and Jess prepares for the trip to Mexico, Mrs. Ramsey (Barbara Werle) plants a kiss on him, when in just the prior scene she was ready to beat the snot out of him, blaming him for her husband's death! How exactly did the reconciliation take place?

Even with the disconnects, it was cool seeing Paul Brinegar once again as Doc Opie (there's that 'Rawhide' connection again). Ina Balin, looking radiant and very much like a high school sweetheart of mine, doesn't have much to do here as Presley's romantic interest, but even that seems wasted by the end of the story. Do you think he ever sent for her?

If for no other reason, "Charro!" is worth seeing for a non characteristic look at Elvis Presley in a role that would have served much better at the beginning of his career than near it's end. But that's a whole other conversation. I wonder how Clint would have been in "Jailhouse Rock".
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What could been
hackraytex1 July 2017
For years Elvis Presley had been desperate to do a movie as a drama character with a non singing part. He was also wanting to a spaghetti western. He had done well in his earlier years with "Love Me Tender", "Flaming Star", Wild In The Country", and "King Creole". These parts had singing in them but it was a chance to stretch his ability to do drama. Spaghetti westerns were still hot so he thought he had finally found the project he was looking for.

This was intended to be a TV movie and Elvis thought this would be an opening for him to take his movie career in a different direction. A TV movie would not rely on the box office to carry it. It failed in the box office since it was not supposed to be released to the theaters and had a TV movie look to it. Colonel Parker did not want him to do TV movies and this was probably a set up to keep Presley in line. Parker was always worried about losing his meal ticket. Presley almost fired Parker he did his TV Special in 1968.

As mentioned earlier, it was a well made movie that should have succeeded but it was never meant to be released to the theaters. He got to look like a part and he and the movie had a gritty look to it. Charles Marquis Warren was one of the premier western directors then but most of his work was TV so with the supporting actors mostly coming from TV, it did not fly then in the theaters. At that time, it was hard for actors to do both TV and movies and be bankable. Today, that is not the case so maybe Charro was ahead of its time. Elvis could have had a whole new career with this movie if only he had gotten the right support. Maybe he would have lived longer since he would have had a new interest to stimulate him. Rest in peace, Elvis.
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Neo Spaghetti Western Without Enough Sauce
Jay Raskin12 August 2010
This was a pleasant surprise. It was made in 1969, the last year that Presley made movies. It is the only movie of his 31 where his character does not sing. Despite this, Presley is able to carry the movie on his acting ability. He is not quite as cool as Eastwood or Wayne at their best, but he does deliver a solid and reasonably intense performance.

The first half of the movie is fine as it sets up a confrontation between ex-outlaw Jess Wade (Presley) and the gang that he rode with. Vince (Victor French) the head of the gang is vicious, especially to his own gang members, but he does care about protecting his idiot brother , Billy Roy (Solomon Sturges) so he is at least a two note character.

In the second part of the movie, believability falls apart with the outlaws using a single cannon to threaten to blow up a town. Since artillery range for a cannon at that time was only about a mile, one wonders why the townspeople cannot just figure out which direction the cannon shots are coming from, ride one mile in that direction and arrest the outlaws. By this time outlaw Presley has been made sheriff of the town (apparently, a criminal history did not disqualify him on the job application). For some inexplicable reason, he chooses to hold Billy Ray prisoner for shooting the previous sheriff, but does not arrest his brother, gang leader Vince, for kidnapping, torture, and blowing up half the town, among other felony crimes. Jess might have thought to study some legal books before becoming sheriff.

In the second half, the movie loses its lyrical quality and resembles an average ho-hum episode of "Gunsmoke" or "Bonanza." What this proves is that Presley had the ability to make quality movies, but he was not good in selecting his material. Still, for Western fans, it is reasonably entertaining, a grade "C" entertainment, made into a "B" one by Presley.
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Elvis' Most Unusual Movie!!!
zardoz-1313 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
My favorite Elvis Presley movie is "Charro!" National General Pictures released Elvis' twenty-ninth movie theatrically in 1969. This explosive post-American Civil War horse opera takes place on the Southwestern frontier near Mexico. The Motion Picture Association of America granted it a G rating for General Audiences. All previous Presley films received a G rating. Nevertheless, "Charro!" differs from all other Elvis movies. I am surprised "Charro!" wasn't given an M for Mature Audiences because of all its shooting and killing. Incidentally, he would make only two more films after "Charro!": The Trouble with Girls and A Change of Habit. Meantime, this Presley oater drew a line in the dust. Comparatively, the content of "Charro!" is visually as well as narratively serious. This western qualifies as the grittiest movie the King of Rock and Roll ever made. For example, Elvis wore a beard throughout it. Moreover, he rode through its entire 98 minutes and never strummed a single song. He did perform the main theme over the opening credits, but he did not sing it in person. Obviously, "Charro!" exhibited an Elvis who had stepped out of his comfort zone. This reality oriented western depicted men dying violent deaths, while the hero suffered horribly for society's sins. Not only did "Charro!" bomb at the box office, but the movie also alienated Presley fandom. Naturally, despite its change of pace, the critics panned it. All they saw was Elvis. They did not see the dust, the amplified violence, and the high body count that complicated this Elvis outing. According to a popular saying, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," Elvis stretched more than his fans wanted him to in "Charro!" "Charro!" deserves reappraisal because it dared to be different. Writer & director Charles Marquis Warren saddled "Charro!" with greater realism, and the film never panders for laughs. Warren's credentials as a western filmmaker are impeccable. He created two of popular western television series of the 1950s: Rawhide and Gunsmoke. Furthermore, he originated The Virginian during the 1960s. Finally, Warren helmed over ten westerns for the big-screen, including "{Charro!" Consequently, "Charro!" was forged from the perspective of a veteran filmmaker thoroughly acquainted with the conventions of the western genre.

"Charro!" opens as Jess Wade (Elvis Presley) rides into a sleepy Mexican village. He enters a cantina and inquires about a woman who is supposed to meet him. Jess gets the surprise of his life when his old nemesis, Vince Hackett (Victor French), appears with two trigger-happy gunmen. They corner Jess in the cantina, and a gunfight follows. Jess manages to escape, but he does not get far. Another of Vince's henchmen catches him outside as he is leaving the cantina and holds him at gunpoint. Vince explains to Jess that the woman in question, Tracy Winters, is not in town. He lured Jess into the village on the pretext that Tracy had sent word that she would meet him. Vince is jealous because Tracy was his girlfriend, and Jess stole her from him. Earlier, Jess had ridden with Vince and his gang of desperadoes. He left the gang to go straight and win Tracy's heart. Vince plans to thwart Jess's dream. Vince has stolen a Mexican victory cannon. Furthermore, he has circulated a description of the man that stole it. Naturally, Vince attributes the crime to Jess. As further proof of Jess's guilt, Vince claims the thief can be recognized by a scar from a bullet that left a flesh wound on his neck. Vince and his men jump Jess, wrestle him to the ground, and Vince sears Jess's neck with red-hot branding iron. After Jess recovers, Vince allows him to leave their remote campsite in the desert. Vince reminds Jess that Mexican and American authorities are searching for a man that fits his description. Jess trudges out into the desert dragging his saddle. Eventually, he catches a horse, breaks it, and rides to a small American town. The local lawman, Sheriff Ramsey (James Almanzar), believes Jess when he tells him Vince framed him for the theft of the cannon. Jess sets out to clear his name. Fortuitously, Vince's lunatic younger brother, Billy Roy (Solomon Sturges), rides into the same town. He shoots Sheriff Ramsey, and Jess takes over for his friend and jails Billy Roy. When he learns about Billy Roy's predicament, Vince threatens to destroy the town with the cannon! Jess refuses to cave into Vince's threat despite the opposition from the town.

The dramatic elements of Charro! distinguish it from other Elvis films. This rugged western contains duplicity, theft, premeditated murder, torture, and mutilation. Vince and his men wipe out an entire Mexican Army patrol as they are crossing the Rio Grande. Vince personally leads these troops into this trap. As villains go, Vince is the most unscrupulous dastard that a Presley protagonist has ever faced. Vince displays no qualms about murder. He is prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve his objective. Quite a body count piles up in Charro! Jess's lawman friend dies during the barrage of cannon fire that Vince levels at the town. Elvis Presley never played a hero like Jess. Apart from his beard, Presley must submit to torture and mutilation, so he will fit the description that Vince has circulated. Nobody ever did anything like this to Elvis. The only thing that differentiates Charro! from Elvis's previous westerns Love Me Tender and Flaming Star is the ending. Elvis survives the fracas and takes Vince and Victory Cannon back to Mexico.

In conclusion, Charro! qualifies as Elvis Presley's most unusual movie. The gritty subject matter and the death and violence in it set it apart from his lightweight musical dramas.
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Presley Plays a Scruffy Randolph Scott in Ride Lonesome Redux
Gary R. Peterson12 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Watching CHARRO back to back with FLAMING STAR made for a great Saturday afternoon. The old school Hollywood Western of 1960 had changed so much by 1969 and the spaghetti western-influenced CHARRO. What hadn't changed was Elvis' eminent ability to entertain.

Charles Marquis Warren, who produced, wrote, and directed CHARRO, has an unimpeachable place in the Western pantheon: He developed for television both GUNSMOKE and THE VIRGINIAN and created RAWHIDE. Yeah, it's obvious Warren was trying to leap aboard the spaghetti western bandwagon with CHARRO, and the results are impressive even if he's no Sergio Leone (he certainly did a better job aping the Italians than did Ted Post with HANG 'EM HIGH). The legacy of CHARRO for fans of THE VIRGINIAN is the film's influence on the ninth and final season of that series, rechristened THE MEN FROM SHILOH, which aired in 1970-71. From the red-tinted title sequence to the scruffy, furry faced heroes, it's all seen here first.

The cast is impressive. Victor French, just a few years out from playing hapless Agent 44 on GET SMART, demonstrates his range and plays with aplomb the megalomaniacal leader of the Hackett Gang, a man who could gun down one of his own men and brand another. For those who know French only from good guy roles on LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, CARTER COUNTRY, and HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN, this film will prove an eye-opener. My own eyes were opened years ago when I caught French playing town taming Sheriff Bo Harker in "The Tarnished Badge" episode of GUNSMOKE where his badness just blew me away.

Solomon Sturges was a standout as Billy Roy, the psychotic kid brother of Vince. But I flashbacked to James Best as Billy John, the psychotic kid brother of Lee Van Cleef in Randolph Scott's 1959 film RIDE LONESOME. The similarities kept piling up: In RIDE LONESOME Randolph Scott uses the psycho kid brother as bait to lure out the big brother, has to listen to the kid's threatening taunts of "wait till my brother gets here..." and in the end even ties the kid brother to a tree. Oh, well, if Warren was going to steal, he at least knew to steal from Budd Boetticher! And Sturges does an outstanding job, really upping the antic energy and the tension with his taunts and hysterical outbursts.

James Sikking's unhinged Confederate veteran Gunner presages Donald Sutherland's Oddball in KELLY'S HEROES. Sikking made the most of his few scenes and stood out from Hackett's otherwise forgettable gang. And speaking of forgettable, the exotic Ina Balin was cast in a thankless role with little to do but take a G-rated bath and look on the action with concern. Like Inger Stevens in Dean Martin's FIVE CARD STUD, she's the whorehouse madam with a heart of gold. Talk about your tired tropes! RAWHIDE alum Paul Brinegar gets a small role as town barber Opie Keetch. Lynn Kellogg as chorus girl Marcie appeared poised for a larger role that never developed.

The story is engaging, fast moving, and exciting. The cannon-fired dynamite attack on the town was startling (I jumped when the godless heathen blasted off the church steeple!). The characters are ones you care about and learn details about as the story unfolds. Even the vile Vince Hackett has an inexplicable soft spot for his soft-headed brother, which gives him depth and hints at an unexplained and painful past. Sheriff Ramsey mentored the misguided Jess Wade and led him out of a life of crime, lending weight to their relationship, especially when Jess is sworn in as deputy. There's a sense throughout the film that we in the audience are only seeing the tip of the iceberg and that a lot has transpired in these characters' lives before Elvis crooned over the opening titles.

Speaking of the rousing theme song, it was co-written by Billy Strange and Mac Davis who wrote several classic Elvis songs, including "Memories," and "A Little Less Conversation." (Davis alone wrote "In the Ghetto.")The Hugo Montenegro soundtrack is excellent and heightens the suspense. It could have been billed as its own character since it's almost overwhelmingly pronounced and loud (no complaints--I loved it!).

Film critic Leonard Maltin dissed this flick with a no-star BOMB rating. Maltin writes, "Attempt to change Presley's image by casting him in a straight Western is a total failure. Elvis sings only one song." Wow! What this reveals is the fact Maltin doesn't know jack about Elvis. Elvis' first film, LOVE ME TENDER, was a straight Western, as was FLAMING STAR in 1960. Maltin fails to see that CHARRO was returning Elvis to his cinematic roots, reverting, not changing his image. That Maltin bemoans the fact there's only one song in the movie shows his standard for an "Elvis movie" is the musical comedies. I enjoy those too, but Elvis had long ago demonstrated his ability to play meatier roles. Maltin rejects CHARRO because it doesn't fit his preconceived expectation of what an Elvis movie should be. Okay, maybe CHARRO isn't CITIZEN KANE, but it definitely deserved better than the blithe dismissal of BOMB.

I gave FLAMING STAR a 7-star rating and CHARRO an 8-star rating. Deep down, I know FLAMING STAR was a better produced and weightier movie and features a better Elvis performance, BUT... which movie will I want to rewatch again on a lazy, rainy Saturday afternoon? CHARRO!
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Elvis' spaghetti-ish Western
Wuchak2 October 2015
Released in 1969, "Charro" stars Elvis as Jess Wade, an ex-outlaw whose former gang seeks to pin the blame on him for stealing a gold cannon from a Mexican shrine. Wade ends up trying to protect the Arizona town that holds one of the gang members in jail from the gang's cannon assault.

If nothing else, "Charro" shows that Elvis could've easily been a Western hero in Eastwood's league if he chose to keep with it and got better scripts. Obviously influenced by the rise of the Spaghetti Westerns of the mid-late 60s, this is easily Elvis' best Western of the three he did, the others being 1956' "Love Me Tender" and 1960's "Flaming Star." These prior Westerns had too much of what made Westerns in general laughable before the 60s. There are many exceptions, like "The Last Wagon" from 1956" but -- generally speaking -- the downside of Westerns before the 60s include contrived plot elements, an unrealistic vibe, bad music, white actors playing Natives and dumb Indian dialogue. "Charro" is the least guilty of these sins of Elvis' three Westerns.

"Charro" has a good first and last act, but a weak mid-section. The score and Arizona locations are great, the cast too, but the movie's hampered by the lame second act and a TV-production vibe.

The movie runs 98 minutes and was shot in Apache Junction and Gold Canyon, Arizona, with further studio work done in California.

GRADE: Borderline C+/B- (or 5.5/10)
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A strange western
Not very convincing western, with standard acting from its cast, "Charro!" has a constant homoerotic undercurrent that has been overlooked by almost everybody, not to mention the incestuous tone of the relationship between two villainous brothers. Its real problem is the credibility of the situation (and I do not know much about ballistics), related to a valuable historic cannon that has been stolen from the Mexican army. Presley is framed as the thief and he must clear his name. In the cast, Solomon Sturges (son of famous director Preston Sturges), maybe not a bad actor, overdoes all the scenes he is in (no wonder he had a brief career); Tony Young does a clichéd Latino impersonation, and Ina Balin is as misused as usual.
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