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Tom Horn (1980)
Pretty Good Final Western From McQueen
Here Steve McQueen plays real-life Tom Horn who was involved with assisting in the capture of Geronimo. That is not what this film is about though, it is about the final days of Tom Horn and putting into question his murder of 14 year-old Willie Nickell.
Steve McQueen's coolness just bleeds out onto the screen. But, its not just him that makes this film so watchable as there is a great supporting cast as well. There is a fabulous opening shot of McQueen with his horse by the fire. He is perfectly silent as he is introduced.
Tom Horn is hired by some ranchers including John C. Coble (Richard Farnsworth) to get some cattle back that had been stolen from them. It is through this job that you learn that Horn doesn't mess around and gets into some trouble in being thought to have shot a 14 year-old boy. Horn also meets and falls in love with Glendolene Kimmel (Linda Evans) and I can feel a wonderful chemistry that the two characters shared.
Like any other real good western there is some beautiful scenery and more than capably directed by William Wiard. Also some what I feel is some good old school music by Ernest Gold.
McQueen also acted as executive producer, also starring Billy Green Bush who is really good as U.S. Marshal Joe Belle, Slim Pickens as Sheriff Sam Creedmore, Elisha Cook as the stablehand and Geoffrey Lewis as Walter Stoll.
El Diablo (1990)
Should Have Fun Watching This One
A young student named Nettie (Sarah Trigger) is kidnapped from an oh so sleepy Texas town. Problem is she was kidnapped by the notorious El Diablo (Robert Beltran). Her teacher Billy Ray Smith (wonderfully played by Anthony Edwards) finds it is his duty to find Nettie and bring her back. Next problem is Billy Ray is the worst shot in the west. It is quite funny watching Billy Ray leave town on his horse (which he can not ride). Along the way he meets up with Van Leek (Louis Gossett Jr., who as usual puts in a great performance) who is going to assist him and might turn Billy Ray into a gunslinger.
A pretty good film that you have fun watching. May not even need to be a huge western fan to enjoy it either. Leaves laughs and dead horses in its wake. On a side note does have some good music by William Olvis, but I did find it at times reminiscent of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST by Ennio Morricone.
Written by legendary director John Carpenter, Tommy Lee Wallace and Bill Phillips (who both worked with Carpenter on other film projects as well). Also starring John Glover as The Preacher and Joe Pantoliano as Kid Durango.
The Villain (1979)
"You forgot number two." "Oh no I didn't! I did that when you stuck that gun in my face!"
Kirk Douglas plays Cactus Jack Slade (which may have been a better title for the film) a robber who gets caught trying to rob the Snakes End Bank. In turn he works out a deal with Avery Simpson (western vet Jack Elam), who owns the bank. He must steal money off of the charming...Charming Jones (beautiful Ann-Margret), but she has the clueless Handsome Stranger (Arnold Schwarzenegger) as her muscular bodyguard.
Just think of Wile E. Coyote trying to capture The Roadrunner on Looney Tunes. That is exactly what we have here. Cactus Jack comes up with some good ideas that always seem to misfire along the way. In fact the two stars of the movie to me are Kirk Douglas who wonderfully plays his character over-the-top and his smart, but very disgruntled horse Whiskey (played by a horse named Ott). They carry the film to me and you could argue the horse gets more laughs than anyone else.
Now, Paul Lynde plays Nervous Elk a chief who has been sent to watch over Cactus Jack by Avery Simpson. Lynde is a funny guy, but the portrayal of the Native American people in this film isn't the best. They do not come across as very bright. In saying that though no one in the film really is. Apologies to Native people who end up watching this film.
Also starring Strother Martin and country legend Mel Tillis.
The Legend of the Golden Gun (1979)
Good Family Fun
Robert Davi plays real life baddie William Quantrill who kills the family of John Golden (Jeff Osterhage). Golden himself is left for dead in a river. After this Golden looks to exact revenge upon Quantrill. He comes across J.R. Swackhammer wonderfully played by Hal Holbrook who trains Golden. The film gets good when Holbrook shows up and starts to take on a nice flavour. This is a TV movie so it is not going to play out like Clint Eastwood's 'The Outlaw Josey Wales' with its subject matter, but might work well if you have kids in the 10-14 range who like a western. Also starring Keir Dullea as the over confident General Custer and great veteran R.G. Armstrong as corrupt Judge Harrison Harding. As you might have guessed through out the film Golden meets real life legends from the Old West.
Now this TV movie is far from perfect and a couple of big things for me that didn't work were early on we are shown a scene that oozes cheesiness to me. We watch John Golden in slow motion ride his horse Moonbeam, which he is singing a song about. I thought this was completely unneeded as within a couple minutes Osterhage's acting should be able to bring his love through toward the horse. The other is the music in a couple of scenes does not really have a western feeling. It is more of a 1979 or disco-influenced theme and any seriousness in the scenes are washed away. In turn though well worth a watch. On a side note Harve Bennett was executive producer who went on to produce and co-write Star Trek II through V.