25 October 2006 | mgtbltp
Van Cleef's performance is worth the view
Saw this 36 years ago on Times Square in NYC. Got a tolerably Good VHS of it on Amazon.com for about $5.
It was directed by John Guillermin, and stars Lee Van Cleef, Jim Brown, Patrick O'Neal, Marianna Hill, Iron Eyes Cody, Elisha Cook Jr., and Dan Van Husen. It was made around the Blaxplotation Era, its not great but its not bad as far as an action flick goes. The score by Jaffe is nothing to get worked up about, Its supposed to take place at the end Maxamilian's Mexico reign (1867) , but all the Colts are vintage 1873 Peacemakers, so any historical reality is lost with this film at the git go. Check your brains at the door.
Its highlight for me (and the reason for any Lee Van Cleef fan to get this film) is Van Cleef's turn as a character named Jaroo.
Jaroo is as far from Van Cleef's Mortimer as you can probably go. Here he plays a somewhat shallow, alcoholic, happy go lucky Indian Trader, an Apachero so to speak, who has lived on and off with the Apaches. He's a dusty, scrawny looking saddle bum, his trademark hawk like face in this film is transformed more into a beady-eyed weasel. He wears a two bear claw necklace around his neck and a small poke that holds two gold nuggets. We first meet him as he guzzling down some whiskey in a bar.
But this is more a vehicle for Brown, and we meet him first at a prison camp, he plays a character named Luke & he is shackled to Elisa Cook Jr. Cook tells him about El Condor fort sort of the Ft. Knox of Mexico. Luke is summoned to the commandants office and offered a pardon if he would join up with General Sherman. But he escapes and heads for the gold of El Condor. Brown is average in this too.
Luke teams up with Jaroo since Jaroo can get Apache Chief Santana and an army of Apache Warriors to attack the fort for plunder rather than the gold and then Luke & Jaroo can split the Mexican Treasury.
Patrick O'Neal is the Mexican General in command of El Condor and knockout Marianna Hill his mistress. O'Neal is OK in the role and Hill does a full frontal striptease at a crucial plot point, wow. She's got quite the rack , and all of us Clint fans will recognize her from her role of town tramp Calle Travers from High Plains Drifter.
Now I know why we never see this film on TV, lots of bare flesh throughout.
There is a great sequence in a Mexican town where Jaroo has a scene with a small Mexican boy that is pretty touching. Later there is another good sequence when Jaroo gets "gold fever".
Shot in Almeria. Just treat this more as mindless entertainment, with a very good performance by Van Cleef. It could have been way better than it is but it was made to just cash in on the SW craze.
Its better than I remembered.