Not One of Ford's Best
Terence Allen | Atlanta, GA USA | 06/28/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Santee was Glenn Ford's last starring role in a major motion picture Western, and it is better to remember after watching it that he will always be known as one of the all-time great Western stars.
In Santee, Ford plays a hardbitten bounty hunter who kills the father of a young boy, who Santee takes home to raise as his own. You know that the boy, played by Michael Burns, wants to kill the man who killed his father, and you know that sooner or later, the boy will come to respect, and maybe even love Santee. You don't expect the boy to forgive so quickly. You also know that the boy will eventually have to help Santee round up some outlaws, but the usual excitement and enjoyment just doesn't payoff, even with an ending that is more poignant, and more interesting than a lot of older or modern westerns.
For Ford's sake, you wish that the cliches weren't so overwhelming. Ford does what he can with the role, which is more than a lot of other actors could, but Santee ends up being a pale imitation of many of Ford's other roles."
Steven Hellerstedt | 09/12/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Veteran actor Glenn Ford is bounty hunter in the 1973 movie SANTEE. After killing the leader of an outlaw gang Santee takes in the man's son, Jody, who vows to kill Santee the first chance he gets.
The first act begins with a delightful opening sequence, a little reminiscent of the `super posse' in BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID. Santee is seen from a distance and commented upon - who IS this guy, is he as good as they say he is, etc. It turns out he is indeed that good, and then some. Santee is tough and terse and the bad guy is one wrong flinch away from death.
The movie falls apart spectacularly in the second act. Santee, for reasons unknown, guilt or distrust or whatever, keeps the kid close to him and semi-adopts him. At least he gets the kid to agree not to do `it' at the ranch. Domesticity can drive a stake through the toughest of action movies, and as soon as Santee and Jody arrive home this movie loses whatever chance it had. For reasons never adequately explained, or even apparently noticed by director Gary Nelson, Jody forgives and forgets and becomes the son they never.... The rest of the film is a pastiche of half-baked, lesser tropes. The education of a gunfighter. Strapping them on one last time. This movie lost me when it asked me to buy that an afternoon rounding up mustangs with Jay Silverheels would be enough to forget killing the man who shot your father.
Old music fans might get a kick out of hearing The Raiders with Paul Revere sing the original theme "Jody" somewhere at the tag end of act one and reprise it at the end of the movie.
Not many movies begin with as much promise as SANTEE, fewer yet disappoint so thoroughly.