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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
Peter Dyneley ... Ezra Meade
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Storyline

After Pardon Chato, a mestizo, kills a US marshal in self-defense, a posse pursues him, but as the white volunteers advance deep in Indian territory they become more prey than hunters, leading to internal strife. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The scream of his victims is the only sound he makes. See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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 See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Scimitar Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charles Bronson speaks very little in this film, with only a few words of his dialogue being in English. 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

Joshua Everette: I've seen Comanches in Texas. And boy, I'll never want to see one again... I can tell you that.
Capt. Quincey Whitmore: Well, you don't see Apaches. You don't hear 'em and you don't see 'em. It's like an act of God.
See more »

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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Oh a hunting we'll go.
28 January 2007 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

Chato is a half-breed Apache Indian who shoots a sheriff in self-defense while in town and finds himself the target of a head hunting posse led by a former Confederate soldier Quincy Whitmore. They track Chato into his own harsh territory and they soon find that the tables have been turned. As now they're the ones trying to survive, while being picked off one by one by Chato and braving the rough elements of Apache territory.

This was the first feature to bring the pairing of director Michael Winner and actor Charles Bronson together (in which they would go on to make another five films). "Chato's Land" is just like any other Winner exercise. This straightforward western tale comes across as crass and rather offbeat in its mean-spirited tempo and bloodthirsty violence. Thanks mainly to Winner's always daring and hard-boiled direction, which is always more workman-like than glitzy. Direction wise, two solid lead performances (Bronson and Palance) and the intrusive handling of transporting you amongst blistering bone-dry location is what keeps one interested. This is because the efficiently simple cat-and-mouse plot (hunters eventually become the hunted) has very little structure to it and is tied along by airy pockets that can slow up the film's momentum. Within the bold context is a passionately thoughtful, though quite blunt message that you could interpret about the intolerance of racism (just listen to the crude dialogues that the thickly verbose script spits out) and an allegory on the Vietnam War (with the men under-estimating their man on his turf). The characteristics between the hunting party (behavioural changes and the character's turning on each other because of the stressful nature they are put into) are reasonably dynamic, with it sometimes getting rather sidetracked from the central focus of the narrative. The dialogues between them are quite heavy, but on the other side of the coin. Charles Bronson gets very little to say (even using some Indian tongue), but still feels nicely fleshed out and tells the story with simple facial expressions and actions.

When Winner wants to get down and gritty, the elaborately relax pacing is broken up by excitingly sudden short bursts of conflict and the tense finale is perfectly fitting. Even a few surprises are illustrated into the dying half of the picture. The isolated atmosphere of the barren location only adds more to the anxiety created by their situation and there are stunning images captured on screen. The camera-work does get some singular shots interwoven within its sturdy foundation. A vintage sounding music score has that potently loud western twang that drenches the film with the right air. The performances are all particularly good. A terrific Jack Palance gives a classy stable depiction of Quincy Whitmore and Charles Bronson was in ripe condition and form as Chato. Making up the marvellous assemble were James Whitemore, Simon Oakland and Richard Basehart.

A competently well-focused and quite brutal western that in the long run is nothing to get too worked up about. In saying that, it's better than the norm.


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