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Chato's Land (1972)

PG | | Western | June 1972 (UK)
In 1870s New Mexico, a half-breed kills a bigoted sheriff in self-defense but the posse that eventually hunts him finds itself in dangerous territory.

Director:

Michael Winner

Writer:

Gerald Wilson
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Bronson ... Pardon Chato
Jack Palance ... Capt. Quincey Whitmore
James Whitmore ... Joshua Everette
Simon Oakland ... Jubal Hooker
Ralph Waite ... Elias Hooker
Richard Jordan ... Earl Hooker
Victor French ... Martin Hall
Sonia Rangan Sonia Rangan ... Chato's Woman
William Watson ... Harvey Lansing
Roddy McMillan Roddy McMillan ... Gavin Malechie
Paul Young Paul Young ... Brady Logan
Raul Castro ... Mexican Scout
Lee Patterson ... George Dunn
Roland Brand Roland Brand ... Sheriff
Peter Dyneley ... Ezra Meade
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Storyline

After a deadly confrontation with the racist local sheriff in the town's whites-only bar, the half-Apache, Pardon Chato, flees into the unforgiving desert. Hell-bent on making Chato pay, the famed former Confederate officer, Captain Quincey Whitmore, assembles an angry posse of blood-thirsty men; however, who is the hunter, and who is the hunted? Do Whitmore's toughs stand a chance of surviving in Chato's dangerous land? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What Chato's land doesn't kill, Chato will. See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

By68 Losely based on Burt Lancaster's Western Lawman 1971 also directed by Michael Winner See more »

Goofs

As Captain Whitmore walks down the street in the opening sequence, the direction of his shadow changes from behind him and to his right to in front of him and to his left. See more »

Quotes

Earl Hooker: I'm gonna kill you, Mex. Understand? And that's a promise.
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Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema version was cut for violence and the later Warner video received 41 secs of cuts to horsefalls and the rape scene, though the print used was missing the shooting of the burning Indian and a shot of Jubal Hooker's face being hit with a rock. In 2004 most of the cuts were waived with only 14 seconds now missing to remove sight of horses being made to fall in a fashion that is prohibited under BBFC Policy and also by the Cinematograph (Animals) Act of 1937. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Embalmer (1996) See more »

User Reviews

 
Where there's no pardon from Pardon Chato, brother
6 February 2010 | by RJBurke1942See all my reviews

There's a little in-joke that's included in Pardon Chato's (Charles Bronson) only line spoken in English; and that occurs in about the second minute of this savagely entertaining story about vigilantism running amok somewhere in the Old West.

We see Chato, at the saloon bar, waiting to get his whiskey when in comes the local Marshall Endersby (Jacob Meade), looking to kill himself an uppity mestizo. So, here's the in-joke: just before the Marshall draws to shoot, Chato says: "Back off, lawman!" Then he spins quickly, shooting from the hip to kill the Marshall. It's a joke, because the director, Michael Winner, in 1971, had already filmed a story called Lawman (by the same screen writer, Gerald Wilson) in which a Marshall hunts down a group of men – relentlessly, mercilessly and legally. (Note that Lawman is more highly regarded, at IMDb, than Chato's Land.)

Anyway, the story of Chato is double joke: here, the Marshall is out of the picture (no pun intended) immediately, and the hunters – the Posse Commitatus, a mixed bunch of misfits headed up by either ex-Captain Whitmore (Jack Palance) or Jubal Hooker (Simon Oakland), depending on how the plot unfolds – become the hunted when Chato begins the task of killing them – relentlessly, mercilessly...but, illegally, in this story. Oh, Chato has the moral high ground, many would argue; but, objectively, any court would find him guilty of manslaughter at the very least. And, man, what a slaughter it is! But, this is the Old West, where just about anything goes.

The story has many antecedents (about which Winner and Wilson would have been well aware): The Bravados (1958) with Gregory Peck as the hunter; Hombre (1967) with Paul Newman as the despised mestizo; and Valdez is Coming (1971) with Burt Lancaster as the hunter, and a Mexican to boot. You could probably add to that list. This film adds to it, of course, as being just another take on the good, ol' American pastime of vigilantes racing off to git themselves a hangin' afore nightfall, if possible. In that regard and if you have seen it, you shouldn't miss watching the heartbreak in The Oxbow Incident (1943) with Henry Fonda, heading up an all-star cast, who tries to stop the west's favorite method of dispensing rough justice.

The best part about Chato's Land is the land: the stark, unforgiving country that Chato uses to his advantage. Winner makes good use of long, wide angle shots to emphasize the harsh, bleak landscape; but, his studied close-ups of the characters are often almost works of art. Of the cinematography, I can only complain of the lighting – a good lot of the shoot was completed in pseudo-darkness, using blue filters, no doubt, and was quite annoying at times. Editing is up to par, though, and Jerry Fielding's music is suitably moody – although, I could have done without the military-type snippets.

After speaking that one English line, Chato sticks to Apache, or is silent throughout, as he gets on with his task. So, it's nice to see a man happy in his work, and who doesn't bother us with useless talk.

Highly recommended for all fans of Bronson and Palance.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

UK | Spain | USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

June 1972 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Chato's Land See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$421,031
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Scimitar Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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