EddieLove | NYC, USA | 04/25/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before Get Shorty ushered in a golden age of big screen Elmore Leonard adaptations, he'd always bemoaned how Hollywood brought his stories to the screen. It seems to me several of his westerns -- 3:10 to Yuma, Valdez is Coming and Joe Kidd, are really pretty good. Perhaps best of all from this period may be the 1967 film of his novel Hombre which is a taut and timeless character Western.
The picture starts out with raised-by-Apaches white man John Russell, played by Paul Newman, returning to "civilization" in order to settle accounts when his wealthy benefactor has died. Paul's decked out in a long black wig and en route he sucker-punches David Canary in a rundown cantina where Canary is humiliating some native Americans. Once he's settled business in town, and newly shorn, Paul promptly leaves. To do that he must ride out on a special stage run by Martin Balsam and commissioned for prominent Indian affairs government figure Fredric March and his high-class wife Barbara Rush. Also waiting to catch the stage is the earthy, boarding-housekeeper played by Diane Cilento (Mrs. Sean Connery at the time) who Newman has put out of work when he sold her house.
Into the station walks Richard Boone and one close-up is pretty much all you need to read malevolence in his every thought and gesture. He's heading out of town as well, and starts to bully Newman to give up his seat. When a nice-guy soldier sticks up for Paul, Boone turns his attention on him, and through sheer force of his brute affect, the soldier gives up his own ticket without a gun being pulled or a punch thrown. Paul just sits there, and we now know that he'll employ heroics to go to bat for the Apache, but he doesn't care any for the white man.
The stage arrives and the second half of the story starts -- anything more would be a spoiler. But you're left wondering -- who are these two guys and what are they about? You can't imagine a greater pair of antagonists than Paul with his effortless ease and charm (even when he's being laconic) and Boone who is a big ugly sucker you can't take your eyes off. The others in the cast are also good -- especially legendary stage and screen star March and Cilento who shares some marvelously written exchanges with Newman that get at the heart of this Indian's beef with The Man.
Even while the accent may be on characterization here, when the action starts you'll tax the edge of your seat. The climax is thrilling and topped off by a classic final line delivered by Balsam. I can't believe that Leonard had a problem with this picture. It's sensational.
This Western deserves to be reconsidered as a classic -- it certainly stands up with some of Newman's best work from this period."
I was there!
R. Schiff | San Diego | 05/11/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was in Tucson and the cast and crew were living in a hotel owned by my family. I got to see the filming and the cast was all at my house for a party. All nice people. I never saw the film until recently and I liked it. James Wong How and his wife Sanora became close friends and he started my interest in photography... which I still do to this day. I just last week found a business card from Auther Newman with written instructions to allow us on the set at Old Tucson to observe the filming. Forgot I had it. Great film!"
"Hombre" - Great story and movie
fwdobsv | Grass Valley, Ca, US | 05/22/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Elmore Leonard is one of my favorite story tellers and "Hombre" is one of his best. With his always interesting characters brought to life by a cast of great actors, I highly recommend this film."