A fugitive on the run from the law and carrying several million dollars hides out in the house of a farm family. The tables turn when the family turns out to be even more criminally ... See full summary »
In the Old West, impressionable teenagers Will, Les and Tod find an injured bank-robber who asks for their help. At first, the boys are scared and reluctant to help. They're afraid of getting into trouble with the law and their parents. Moved by the wounded man's pleas, they finally agree to hide the robber in Will's barn and clean his wounds. Over the next few days, they bring food, drink and clean clothes to the outlaw whose name is Harry Spikes. When the sheriff and his posse come by and ask questions, Will hides the fact the robber is concealed in his family's barn. After he sufficiently recovers, Harry Spikes thanks the boys for their help and vows to help them in return if they ever need his aid. He takes Will's horse and leaves the county, heading for the Mexican border. Later, Will's parents discover their son's little mischievous secret and administer Will a severe beating to teach him to never lie. Fed up with his father's frequent physical punishments, Will runs away from ...Written by
This is probably Richard Fleischer's last good movie;it's considered polite to say that all he did after "solyent green" is worthless.Richard Fleischer made lots and lots of great movies from " follow me quietly" to " the narrow margin" ,from "20,0000 leagues under the sea" to "The Vikings "and from "Barabbas" to "the Boston strangler" to the stunning (and perhaps his masterpiece) "10 Rillington Place" After "Solyent green" which featured the extremely moving scene of the death of Edward G.Robinson (who eventually died some months after),only "Spikes gang" shows something of the unqualified brilliance that accompanies Fleischer in his career through "Solyent green" .It is a western which has nothing to do with the epics of Ford,Daves or Walsh or Mann.It has also (fortunately) nothing to do with Peckinpah.
Filmed in Spain,its spirit is actually close to that of Arthur Penn,particularly "Bonnie and Clyde".When Grimes is daydreaming and sees his father tell him :"you're no longer my son;you're dead" ,it recalls that scene when Bonnie meets her mom for a picnic and the old lady says "you're already dead ,Bonnie Parker" .
The three lads are in search of a father ,which is very Pennesque ,notably in "the left handed gun" .even in a non-western film such as "the miracle worker" Ann Sullivan was Helen Keller's second mom. Grimes' father was a religious man ,perhaps not far from being a fanatic (his part is too underwritten).Remember that scene in the bank where the ticking of the clock merges into the memories of the whip coming down .Lee Marvin is their new father and I go as far as to write that Grimes is some kind of father to his two mates too when he is absent.
The three lads are amateurs and cannot free them of the concept of right and wrong ,coming from a religion which does not give any answer;when they're eating hosts and drinking sacred wine,one of the youngest speaks of blasphemy but their leader tells them so "Christ would give them to us if He were here" .
Lee Marvin's character is extremely interesting.Lee Marvin never overplays and the discovery that he was once married to an educated wife ,a teacher who spoke several languages and played the piano comes aside as a shock.This memory is necessary ;without it,the ending would not make any sense.
An inferior director would have made "men" of the three teenagers ;but they can't :their dreams ,their remorse,the letter one of them sends to his mom,the trust they put in Marvin,all indicates that when they die they will still be big children.
Like this?try this.....
"Run for cover" Nicholas Ray 1955
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this