B Sound: C+ Extras: C- Film: B
the last impressive Westerns before Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch (1969) showed up and broke new ground in realism was
journeyman director Andrew V. McLaglen’s Bandolero!
(1968), which offers a solid script and an excellent cast that all seems to
come together and work well. George
Kennedy is the local sheriff who is interested in the streetwise, now rich and
always beautiful recent widow (Raquel Welch, in one of her best films and performances)
who is ready to do what she has to do in a man’s world after tolerating nothing
but ugliness from it since she was young.
Racism is also a factor.
gang of robbers (Dean Martin, Will Geer, et al) who get caught and one of them
(Martin) is guilty of killing a bank employee.
They are about to be hanged by a traveling hangman, when another
enterprising thief (Jimmy Stewart) takes over and has other plans. Andrew Prine also stars as Kennedy’s
assistant deputy in a rich, if not always realistic Western that holds up very
well and may be the best martin ever made in the genre. James Lee Barrett’s screenplay is top notch,
rich with ideas and well constructed enough to have you suspend your disbelief
when Hollywood glamour and less realistic
circumstances surface. This is still
violent to a great extent, getting a much belated PG-13 for DVD release.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 Panavision image is the other big surprise of
the DVD, offering rich DeLuxe color, a clean print, and great depth in the
frame. Cinematographer William H.
Clothier, A.S.C., has an outstanding grasp of the scope frame, making it work
even when you can tell what is shot on a set.
It is amazing that great elements of this film survived so well. The Dolby Digital is available in 2.0 Spanish
& French Mono, but is especially interesting in a basic English
Stereo. It has no Pro Logic surrounds
and even has compression limits and a slight harshness here and there, but the
score by Jerry Goldsmith is another winner.
Just when you think it cannot get more entertaining, here is Goldsmith
with another great work. We have already
reviewed several of his Fox scores on CD from Film Score Monthly Magazine’s FSM
label, so we hope this one comes out the same way.
are trailers to five other Welch films, plus Spanish and English trailers for
this film. A movie this good deserved a
bit more (documentary, commentary), but it is not often enough that such a good
performance DVD of an older film arrives, so that alone is reason enough to get
this release of Bandolero! We cannot see enough great films of the past
get this kind of treatment.
- Nicholas Sheffo