Saturday, March 2, 2013

Joe Kidd (1972)

Clint Eastwood (Non-Spaghetti) Western #2

Synopsis: Clint Eastwood is caught between a rock and a hard place – so he shoots them both.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Joe Kidd, which concerns a land war in New Mexico at the turn of the century, marks Clint Eastwood at the top of his form as a Western hero.”

What Did I Learn?: It’s not a great idea to locate your saloon directly at the end of a railroad line.

Really?: 1) So, why doesn’t Lamarr (Don Stroud) simply kill Joe Kidd once Harlan fires him? Why do they still have to pussyfoot around each other – Kidd is a prisoner at this point in the film. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. 2) I had a bit of trouble believing Kidd could single-handedly strong-arm Chama – a man who hates the American legal system - and his band of revolutionaries into giving him up to the law. That scene’s a tad unconvincing. 3) So, Kidd has personal feuds against both Lamarr on Harlan’s team, and Ramon on Chama’s… funny how Lamarr is the first of Harlan’s men he kills, and Ramon is used as cannon fodder – I was expecting a bit more to develop from both. 4) So, is the asshole sheriff a crony of Harlan’s (Robert Duvall), or an independent actor? This is a bit unclear.

Rating: Joe Kidd is a mediocre Clint Eastwood Western set in the hills and pueblos of New Mexico. It’s surprising that a film that was written by Elmore Leonard – the guy who gave us Get Shorty – is in obvious need of a better script, or at least a major re-write. Still, kudos to Duvall for a very good performance as a truly evil son of a bitch. 6/10 stars.


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