GUNSMOKE: THE PILLAGERS (1967, USA) ***
net. CBS Television Network; pr co. CBS Television Network; d. Vincent McEveety; w. Calvin Clements Sr.; pr. John Mantley; ass pr. Joseph Dackow; ph. Monroe P. Askins (Colour. 35mm. Spherical. 1.33:1); m. Leon Klatzkin; th. Rex Koury (uncredited); ed. Grant K. Smith; ad. Joseph R. Jennings; set d. Herman N. Schoenbrun; cos. Alexander Velcoff; m/up. Glen Alden, Helen Young; sd. Vernon W. Kramer (Mono); tr. 6 November 1967; r/t. 50m.
cast: James Arness (Matt Dillon), Milburn Stone (Doc Adams), Amanda Blake (Kitty Russell), Ken Curtis (Festus Haggen), John Saxon (Pedro Manez), Vito Scotti (Savrin), Paul Picerni (Ganns), William Bramley (Turner), Buck Taylor (Newly O’Brien), Allen Jaffe (Johns), Glenn Strange (Sam Noonan), Harry Harvey (Eli), Ted Jordan (Nathan Burke), Joe Schneider (Juan Manez), George American Horse (Bandit (uncredited)), John Breen (Townsman (uncredited)), Albert Cavens (Townsman (uncredited)), Jack Lilley (Bandit (uncredited)), Bert Madrid (Townsman (uncredited)), Jimmy Noel (Townsman (uncredited)).
(s. 13 ep. 9) Buck Taylor joins the cast as Newly O’Brian when Newly and Kitty (Blake) are kidnapped by a gang who mistakenly believe he is a doctor. His skills as a gunsmith are central to their escape. Good introductory episode for Taylor with Saxon sharing centre stage as the bandit looking out for his injured brother. Whilst the story itself is perfunctory and the situation of Kitty being held hostage has been done before (and better in The Jailer), this still holds attention through to its conclusion.
JOE KIDD (USA, 1972) ***
Distributor: Universal Pictures; Production Company: Universal Pictures / The Malpaso Company; Release Date: 19 July 1972 (USA), 24 September 1972 (UK); Filming Dates: November 1971; Running Time: 88m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: Mono (Westrex Recording System); Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Panavision; Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1; BBFC Cert: 15.
Director: John Sturges; Writer: Elmore Leonard; Executive Producer: Robert Daley; Producer: Sidney Beckerman; Director of Photography: Bruce Surtees; Music Composer: Lalo Schifrin; Film Editor: Ferris Webster; Art Director: Henry Bumstead, Alexander Golitzen; Set Decorator: Charles S. Thompson; Sound: James R. Alexander, Waldon O. Watson.
Cast: Clint Eastwood (Joe Kidd), Robert Duvall (Frank Harlan), John Saxon (Luis Chama), Don Stroud (Lamarr), Stella Garcia (Helen Sanchez), James Wainwright (Mingo), Paul Koslo (Roy), Gregory Walcott (Mitchell), Dick Van Patten (Hotel Manager), Lynne Marta (Elma), John Carter (Judge), Pepe Hern (Priest), Joaquín Martínez (Manolo (as Joaquin Martinez)), Ron Soble (Ramon), Pepe Callahan (Naco), Clint Ritchie (Calvin), Gil Barreto (Emilio), Ed Deemer (Bartender), Maria Val (Vita), Chuck Hayward (Eljay), Michael R. Horst (Deputy).
Synopsis: An ex-bounty hunter reluctantly helps a wealthy landowner and his henchmen track down a Mexican revolutionary leader.
Comment: Eastwood and Duvall add a level of class to this otherwise familiar Western. Leonard’s script is slight with little in terms of character development but is enlivened by moments of humour – including a deliciously over-the-top finale (unscripted and jokingly suggested by producer Daley) involving a train and a saloon. Outdoor sequences are beautifully shot by Surtees near June Lake, east of the Yosemite National Park. Old Tuscon was used for the town scenes.
Notes: Elmore Leonard’s script, originally called “The Sinola Courthouse Raid”, was inspired by Reies Tijerina, an ardent supporter of Robert F. Kennedy, who stormed a courthouse in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico in June 1967, taking hostages and demanding that the Hispanic people have their ancestral lands returned to them.