A wagon master and a con-man preacher help freed slaves dogged by cheap-labor agents out West.A wagon master and a con-man preacher help freed slaves dogged by cheap-labor agents out West.A wagon master and a con-man preacher help freed slaves dogged by cheap-labor agents out West.
A Lot Better Than Your Average Western
I just saw this movie for the first time on Turner Classic Movies tonight. I had heard about it, but missed it. It's just another shoot-'em-up horse opera, but this time with a difference. It's one of the only westerns ever made that is a story about black people in the Old West, with black actors in the lead roles. Harry Belafonte is excellent as the Preacher. Sidney Poitier is also very good, and although the story contains the full compliment of standard cowboy movie clichés---shoot-outs, posse chases, bank robberies, whining ricochet sounds, etc.---, it's very entertaining. The vast majority of Hollywood westerns are exclusively white, and feature virtually no black people at all. Indians are almost always featured as pidgin-speaking cigar-store cartoon characters, with white actors usually in the speaking parts. Some idiot composer came up with the pounding tom-toms, descending minor theme music played by trombones and low brass whenever Indians come into the picture. It's unbelievable how ridiculous this music is. Hollywood has a lot to answer for in its racist treatment of minorities throughout its early history, which has never been fully addressed. So it's great to see a western like Buck and The Preacher that is different. As a result, it's a lot better than your average western, even though it milks the same old clichés.
- Sep 18, 2009
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