14 October 2017 | Wuchakk
Unique, moving Western with Patrick Stewart, Roy Scheider and David Alan Grier
RELEASED TO TV IN 2002 and directed by Uli Edel, "King of Texas" is a Western starring Patrick Stewart as the proud & loveless title character, John Lear, whose ranch spreads across a vast region of West Texas. His decision to divvy up his empire between his dubious daughters (Marsha Gay Harden & Lauren Holly) based on their willingness to flatter him yields disastrous results as Lear descends into madness and despair. Julie Cox plays his other daughter while David Alan Grier plays his wily man Friday, Rip.
The plot's taken from The Bard's "King Lear." But is also inspired by real-life Texas cattle baron Captain Richard King and his King Ranch in South Texas, which is the largest ranch in Texas, encompassing some 1,289 square miles.
The movie starts shaky with the sequence where Lear divides his holdings between his daughters, but only because you don't yet have a grip on the character of Lear and his dysfunctional relationships with his daughters. The rest of the flick, however, clears things up. One of the best parts is the chemistry that Stewart has with Grier. Their banter back-in-forth is entertaining and often humorous.
What I like most about this Western beyond the great cast, magnificent Mexican locations and moving score, is its uniqueness, which is likely due to it being based on "King Lear." Moreover, there are moments of greatness, like when Lear madly chases the eagle as if longing to take flight from the cage of his proud, quirky flesh and this fallen world in general; or when he passionately cries out to God in the storm. If you think it's unbelievably melodramatic, you're wrong. It's real.
THE FILM RUNS 95 minutes and was shot in Durango & Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico. WRITER: Stephen Harrigan based on Shakespeare's play. ADDITIONAL CAST: Colm Meaney and Patrick Bergin appear as the husbands of Lear's daughters. Roy Scheider plays a neighbor and Matt Letscher & Liam Waite his sons while Steven Bauer is on hand as a Hispanic ranch owner threatened by the two daughter's outrageous greed.