"Based quite rigidly on the best selling novel by Louis L'Amour, we find Sean Connery in the lead role here complete with Scottich brogue, that sits OK despite being a dusty, rough around the edges hero. Not often seen on reruns, and I don't know why this film didn't get much exposure, as many people I know haven't seen it, or even heard of it. I'm tempted to say at this point, that this is not a movie that will live long in the memory, but don't be put off - it has a strangely compelling quality and realistic feel, and a better than average script. There a number of violent scenes, most notably the grissly demise of one of the lead characters (I won't say who) at the hands of a vicious band of Indians, and you could draw some comparisons with the content of movies like "Soldier Blue" although that came along several years after this. On the whole this is a good solid western, with great acting pretty much all round, the 60's film style is evident in Ms Bardot's stunning appearance throughout, despite her supposedly being in the dusty back of beyondville, but this is nothing to get too upset about. I was pleased to see this come to the DVD market, and hope it will reach the wider audience it deserves. Enjoy"
007 & BB go way out West!
Bill W. Dalton | Santa Ana, CA USA | 06/10/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"With the cast this movie has--Sean Connery, Brigitte Bardot, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd, Honor Blackman, Peter van Eyck, Valerie French, and Woody Strode--and based on a novel by Louis L'Amour (and with a foreword by him) this should have been a much better Western than it is! It's a slow moving tale of a hunting party that becomes the hunted party. Shalako (the name means "rain bringer" in Zuni Indian), played by Connery, rescues a group of European noblefolk on a hunting expedition in New Mexico in the 1880s after they run afoul of hostile Apaches, who like to hunt, too; they like to hunt the "white-eyes," whether European or home-grown, who invade their territory!This DVD has no bonus features at all, not even the theatrical trailer! Just a scene selector menu. But the image quality is quite good and you have a choice of widescreen or full frame. Sean Connery looks good in his buckskins and six-shooter, in his prime before the gray beard and bald pate. Brigitte Bardot is simply gorgeous, as is Honor Blackman (GOLDFINGER, THE AVENGERS TV series.) I recommend this DVD as a novelty item mostly, for Connery fans (it's his only Western--if you don't count OUTLAND!) and Bardot fans (it's her only Western, too--if you don't count LES PETROLEUSES, a French-Italian oater!) I first saw this movie at my favorite drive-in theater in `68, and the only thing I remembered about it was Bardot's modestly demure bare back scene, until I saw it again on this DVD edition. This movie is just rather forgettable! It was filmed on location in Spain, and Spain doesn't look anything at all like the American Southwest, a fact European "Western" makers should realize, and that any John Ford fan can attest to!"
Steven Callaghan | Garden Grove, CA USA | 01/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good western. Sean Connery and Brigitte Bardot in a western directed by Edward Dmytryk. How could it be bad. In fact, Sean Connery is so good in this that I figure they must have banned him from doing more westerns. Now really, is this a great film? No. Not many westerns stand up to the quality of today's films. But I liked it and I plan to watch it again."
Cool Bardot Western
Michael D. Schultz | Portland, Or, USA | 07/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What is more retro-cool than watching a late 60's western starring Brigette Bardot and Sean Connery?
A European Hunting party gets trapped out west and surrounded by Indians. Connery attempts to move them to safety. This is an intense serious drama that is eerily realistic at times.
You feel a sense of dread as this hunting party gets deeper and deeper into trouble.
Bardot looks stunning, and brings her natural charisma to the film Her romance with Connery is actually minimal. This is a drama with action, not a love story.
There is a very intense stagecoach chase later in the film, with great camera work. Somehow this film got lost in the shuffle, but it's a great adaptation of a Louie L'amour novel."
Bond on the Range
EddieLove | NYC, USA | 04/25/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The twin manias of 60s cinema -- the Euro-Spy craze inspired by James Bond and the "Spaghetti Western"-- seem to find their nexus here in the lone Western to star Sean Connery. It's based on a Louis L'Amour novel. I recall it strangely had a reputation as being dark and violent, ala those "revisionist Westerns" of the late 60s, so-called as their penchant for often sadistic violence or sensuality distinguished them from the tame TV fare that around that time dominated the airwaves and was killing off the genre.
The film revolves around a group of pampered and titled Europeans who go on a hunting party in the American west. They're indifferent to the treaties that restrict hunting on certain lands, and when Apache's attack, their only hope is the former Army tracker who warned them in the first place -- the mysterious Shalako played by Connery. (Their worries also include the mustache-twirling hunter they've hired whose beady eyes are on one of the ladies in the group as well as their pricey jewelery.)
You can tell that the filmmakers are conscious of transplanting Connery to the prior century. For the first half of the film he doesn't do much, but we still get lots of scenes of him on his horse to get the 60s audience comfortable with the idea that he's not 007. And this kind of works, because while these scenes have no significance to the story -- and do pad the running time -- you do marvel at how good he is on horseback. Even when he takes center-stage and his considerable presence dominates the action, he has a solid ensemble to work with. I think there were over half a dozen names above the title here. They're a wild cross-section of European and American (semi) stars, and they're all good. The stand-outs may be Stephen Boyd (always as good as he is underrated) as the villain, and Honor Blackman as the haughtiest lady in the party. (I think this has to be the only time Connery was reunited with a Bond girl.)
Unlike other European Westerns from the time, there seems to have been contemporaneous sound captured for this, so we don't get that standard dubbed soundtrack you get with most Spaghetti Westerns. Indeed, for Brigette Bardot as the female lead, I used the DVD subtitle option, as I couldn't make out much of her dialogue. She's the other main attraction here, besides Connery, and her blinding blondness is fetching, if not exactly heart-stopping. She has a couple of romantic scenes with Sean that are cheesy, but fun.
Like other films based on L'Amour novels, this one has a solid plot and characters. It's a little over-long, but it holds up -- thanks mainly to the seriousness that went into ther direction and performances for the non-action scenes. These set things up so that we're invested in what happens.
This isn't a groundbreaking Western from the period. But it is fun, with heroics, romance and solid action. Connery fans will be more than satisfied."