3 May 2006 | BJJManchester
Oddly Cast,Patchy Western
A patchy western which has rather ambivalent attitudes towards it's two main characters,the Bishop brothers,oddly played by Jimmy Stewart and Dean Martin! It's most improbable to accept the above as siblings,never mind Western badmen.The film itself seems to wearily accept this as all throughout the two are treated as sympathetic ne'er-do-well's trapped by unfavourable circumstance,whereas the rest of Martin's gang are portrayed as ruthless villains.
The best scenes are certainly in the first 30 minutes of the film,with Martin and his gang waiting to be hanged after a failed bank robbery;Cowboy drifter Stewart accidentally finds out about the impending execution of his brother,and overpowers the hangman involved so he can arrange an elaborate escape.All these early scenes work very well,continually laced with effective black humour,and an enjoyable concentration on Stewart and witty duologue's with such familiar Western character actors such as Ray Barcroft,Dub Taylor and Guy Raymond.
After the escape,things oddly turn flat.Stewart robs a bank(non-violently)afterwards,Martin and gang gently abduct Raquel Welch,and are relentlessly pursued by Sheriff George Kennedy and deputies.There's good chemistry between Stewart and Martin,and one or two effective scenes thereafter,but BANDOLERO! tends to get bogged down in dullish conversation and not enough action.A sub-plot of Ms Welch falling in love with Martin(after his gang ruthlessly murdered her husband Jock Mahoney) is even more improbable than Dino and Jimmy being members of the same family,and her attempt at a Latin-American accent(she is of Bolivian descent)is adequate but that doesn't automatically mean a good performance.Another sub-plot involving murderous bandits gives the film a surprisingly brutal and violent edge,aspects which were creeping into US film at this time in the late 60's,which as far as Western films were concerned reached a near zenith in the following year's THE WILD BUNCH.The film should've been shorter with better pacing,but isn't too bad thanks to Messers Stewart and Martin,despite their obvious miscasting.