T O'Brien | Chicago, Il United States | 09/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Catlow is a good western about the friendship between two men; Bijah Catlow(Yul Brynner)and Ben Cowan(Richard Crenna). Based on the novel by Louis L'Amour, Catlow tells the story of Cowan's pursuit of his childhood friend Bijah Catlow. Brynner as Catlow is completely believable as the amiable outlaw that L'Amour wrote about. Good action sequences and quick dialogue. Sometimes a little confusing if you haven't read the book, which is better than the movie. Watch out for a bizarre and unnecessary Leonard Nimoy butt scene! However Nimoy plays a decent gunman although he has very few lines."
Good movie, bad DVD release
A Customer | 05/22/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Catlow is directed by Sam Wanamaker, and stars Richard Crenna (Rambo Series), Yul Brynner (The Ten Commandments (1956)), and Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek - The Original Series.) The film's musical score is composed by Roy Budd, and the film is based on the novel of the same name by Louis L'Amour.
Catlow is a Western, featuring a marshal (Crenna) determined to bring Catlow (Brynner), a cattle rustler he was once acquainted with in the Civil War, to justice, after turning to a life of crime. His past feelings of friendship and camaraderie, and legalities prevent him from killing his old acquaintance in cold blood, so he stands determined to take him in for a fair trial. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to take the criminal in alive. A ruthless bounty hunter (Nimoy) is hot on his trail as well. Now Catlow is wanted by at least two men - one who wants him alive, and one who wants him dead. And with Catlow's deadly gun skills and a massive posse of criminals, it won't be easy for anyone hunting him to succeed.
Catlow is a fairly obscure Western that never rode off into classic status. Two weeks ago, I didn't even know the film existed. And despite its relatively-obscure status, it's not a bad film. This is no classic, but it's a movie any fan of Westerns should see once.
The best thing about this movie is its three leading men - Richard Crenna (Colonel Trautman from the Rambo movies) as the marshal, Yul Brynner (Ramses in the 1956 version of The Ten Commandments) as the title outlaw, and Leonard Nimoy (Spock from the original Star Trek series) as a bounty hunter out to kill the title character. These actors are clearly having fun with their roles, and playing them very well. A supporting cast of unknowns actually plays all their parts quite well, too. My only real complaint cast-wise is that, while Nimoy got top billing along with Crenna and Brynner, he just isn't in the film that much. If you're watching this movie to see Nimoy do something other than be Spock, you'll get that here - but not for a whole lot of time. Curiously, Nimoy stated in later years that making this movie was one of the best acting experiences he'd ever had, since it let him break away from Spock, the role that more-or-less typecast him (like so many other Star Trek stars.)
The movie has a lot going for it - in addition to the aforementioned stars, there's a riveting musical score that suits the Western setting perfectly, some interesting scenery and cinematography, and good writing and direction that usually keeps the movie moving along at a good pace
Unfortunately, the movie isn't perfect, and if you watch it for the first time, you'll see firsthand why it isn't a classic. The first (and most major) flaw is the pacing and length. At around 100 minutes, this isn't exactly a short film, but it feels longer than it really is. At times the action does to tend to grind to a halt. This is most noticeable by an attempt at a romantic subplot between Crenna's character and a female relative of a young Mexican soldier he rescues. Some scenes feel like they are only in the movie as fillers, just to show something happening (which doesn't always contribute to the plot in the long run.) Long story short, the movie could have been about 20 minutes shorter - and a better product as a result. Also, the ending is laughably bad.
But no matter how much I can complain about Catlow, it IS a good film. I seriously doubt any fan of Westerns will be disappointed by the performances and the story told here. It's an entertaining film, and while I certainly won't be adding it to my list of favorite movies anytime soon, I give it a solid recommendation to any fan of Westerns or these actors.
Image and Sound: Ugh. This film was not remastered in the least and just "slapped on" a disc. It seems like Warner was more determined to release the movie on Region 1 DVD and cash in than to take the time and do any sort of restoration. The film is laden with faded, often excessive grain, and plenty of damage and dirt on the film. To add insult to injury, the transfer is terribly inconsistent - one shot can be filled with excessive grain and damage, and the next can look almost pristine. The audio track gets the job done, but you can tell it too didn't get any sort of restoration. I'm shocked that Warner Bros., a company who has given us films with some of the finest restorations of all time, would have committed this unrefined transfer to a disc. This feels like one of those "first wave" of DVDs that came out ten years ago.
Special Features: Just the theatrical trailer. That's it. Disappointing, because I'm sure the surviving cast and crew would have had a lot of interesting things to say - it would have been great to hear from Leonard Nimoy, at least.
Final Words: Catlow is a fun Western, and it really showcases the talents of its three leading men, even if Nimoy doesn't get a ton of screen time. Unfortunately this release is plagued by a poor transfer and no bonus features whatsoever. Still, since I can't imagine a fairly obscure title like this getting the royal treatment anytime soon, I'm going to go ahead and recommend it to fans of Westerns and these actors. "
Lost In Kansas | Arkansas City KS | 12/14/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I love westerns, Yul Brynner, Richard Crenna, Leonard Nimoy, and Louis l'Amour, but I do no like this western. I saw it when it came out in the early 70's and I ran across this DVD so I bought it to see i how it held up over time. The answer is NOT VERY WELL!. I read L'Amour's book Catlow and it was a nice book. Brynner was no stranger to westerns and had done some very good ones. Crenna had done westerns too and had done one of L'Amour's stories, A MAN CALLED NOON. So the stars and the writer were together to do something great in westerns. Somewhere along the way things went wrong.
Let's started at the beginning,the music is terrible. It sounds too modern for a western. It sounds like the music of the 70's, sort of hip like. The movie wants to be light, happy, and funny. There is quite a bit of banter between Brynner and Crenna which is to show us that they are friends and are cute. It doesn't play well with the shootings and the bodies getting shot full of arrows.
This may sound funny but Brynner's hat is wrong and jarring. It is a straw hat much like a wanta be cowboy would wear. The women are familiar faces of the time and are asked to be Mexican. One of them come off like stereo typical Mexican cartoon. The other doesn't have much to do except dance and ride a horse. Nemoy has a totally useless nude scene where he fights Brynner. His character has the worst lines in the whole show. The ending is supposed to be cute and charming but is dumb. One more thing the film looks like it was filmed for tv, the colors are not rich looking.
The Italian westerns were the rage for awhile and when this came out they were winding down with more dark images and stories. That made this western look lost and floundering."
Semi-Classic Excellent Print
Trevor William Douglas | Gorokan, NSW Australia | 07/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This new release from Warners is exceptional. Granted the trailer is the only special feature, but having never seen the trailer, it was a welcome addition to this print. I love the music in Catlow and Sam Wanamaker does a fine job of directing. Yul Brynner is at his most animated and Leonard Nimoy plays the bad guy exceptionaly well. Richard Crenna is also a standout and Jeff Corey is perfectly cast. THIS IS THE PRINT TO BUY! GOOD JOB WARNERS!"
EddieLove | NYC, USA | 05/02/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An honest lawman and a hired gun are both on the hunt for the charming (?) cattle rustler they call Catlow in this amiable, almost casual 70s Western. Like other films adapted from L'Amour novels, this one has a solid, sturdy plot. The protagonist here is dependable, stalwart Richard Crenna and Leonard Nimoy has a VanCleef-like presence as the bad-guy, he's a little under-used (if over-exposed). Brynner in the lead grins up a storm and looks somewhat amusing, done up in his gleaming, spotless blue denim. Daliah Lavi is the lusty female lead.
The film was directed by American blacklistee actor Sam Wanamaker and the second unit was headed by John Glen who also tightly edits some broadly comic set-pieces."