C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C- Film: C+
Brynner was still firmly into the Western genre when he played the title role
of Catlow (1971), a quick-shot
criminal everyone is out to get, whether for revenge, money or both. Intended to ride the wave of hit Professional
Westerns, the film was more of a comedy based on a Louis L’Amour novel and with
a hefty supporting cast that makes it one of the last Westerns of its kind. Peter Hunt (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) was reportedly originally to
direct, but actor and sometimes director Sam Wanamaker (who did much work in
both respects in the U.K.) took over and does a decent job.
Nimoy (just after his first Star Trek
& only Mission: Impossible
stint) and Richard Crenna play two different men out to get him and Jo Ann
Pflug (hot after her M*A*S*H success)
and Daliah Lavi are the women who add on to making this quite a romp. Though not an outright comedy, the film has a
good balance of action, humor and enough mature seriousness to work, but the
Scott Finch/J.J. Griffith script is sometimes too formulaic and predictable, a
commercial move that backfires a bit.
Whether the novel was the same is incidental.
there is much to like about the film and if you like Westerns or any of the
actors involved, you should catch it at least once. Its arrival on DVD is welcome.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 can be soft, but also has some good shots as
lensed by Director of Photography Edward Scaife, who shot The Dirty Dozen (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and is very good
with outdoor shots in particular. The
Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono is cleaner and clearer than expected, helped by a decent
score by the reliable Roy Budd. The only
extra is the original theatrical trailer.
- Nicholas Sheffo