Friday, December 28, 2012

1965 - THE HALLELUJAH TRAIL, large scale comedy western


This will be a short post for a very long film.  This large scale western comedy is another It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World wanna be.  The problem is that this film isn't very funny.

The director John Sturges, stuck his name above the title of  The Hallelujah Trail, so that would probably mean that he would have to take most of the blame.  The plot is something to do with a wagon train full of whiskey headed for dry Denver.  The Indians in some of the most obvious stereotypes and a temperance group of women try to stop it.  The United States Army under the command of Burt Lancaster is supposed to get the wagon train through.  Hilarious situations are also supposed to develop from this story.


For one of the preeminent action directors of the early 1960's, John Sturges seems completely out of water on this one. Where did he ever get the idea he could handle comedy? With the exception of this film he had never made one.

There are a few compensations.  The film was shot in 70mm wide screen. Sturges was one of the masters of wide screen compensation, the film looks great especially on a larger television screen.  The score by Elmer Bernstein isn't bad.  The film is well cast and everyone is giving it the best that they have.  The problem as usual is the script which is just not funny.

165 minutes

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