Sunday, June 2, 2013

Alvarez Kelly (1966)

I usually have a very good memory when it comes to movies I've watched, especially ones that bring out strong feelings, be they good or bad. I saw this flick about a year ago, and from what I can recollect, it was definitely the latter.

I was in a Richard Widmark phase at the time, and when I found out about the existence of this film, my thought process went approximately like this: Oooo, Richard Widmark WITH AN EYEPATCH! And he battles with William Holden (one of my favorite actors) during the Civil War! And it's directed by Edward "Murder My Sweet, Crossfire, Warlock, The Sniper" Dmytryk. HOW COULD THIS NOT BE AMAZING?!

Alas, I was proved wrong. This film is forgettable; Amazingly, incredibly forgetable. I can recollect what happened, but much of it was so inane, that it's hardly worth repeating. Okay, I lie, it is (no wiki-synopsis-cheating for this recounting):

There's a gang of starving Confederate soldiers, lead by eyepatch Widmark, and they're after a bunch of cows. Holden is a legendary cow-handler, and though he dislikes the mission, Widmark persuades him to help out by shooting off a finger. Oh, and there are a couple of women scattered around, but they're mostly there to prevent the film from transforming into a sausage-fest and illustrate Holden's talent with the ladies, one of whom is Widmark's sexually unsatisfied fiancee, who flees northward with Holden's help, after he gives her some good (fade-out) lovin'.

Remember, this film's plot is hinged on kidnapping cows. Cows. Let that sink in. If you think that it sounds enduringly quirky, think again. With the exception of the previously stated finger-shooting scene (which is admittedly intense), and another where Widmark laughs his ass off non-stop for thirty seconds (which is, admittedly, pretty funny), this was a very listless, workman-like film. Visually and script-wise, there's barely anything eye-catching or even particularly interesting about the affair. It saddens me to imagine the blown potential,what with the eye-patch and all.  Oh movies, you never sease to amaze me.

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