Sunday, May 5, 2013

1967 - THE WAY WEST, crummy epic Western.

The same year as, Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, The Dirty Dozen and You Only Live Twice were released came this completely out of it western,  The Way West.  The director was Andrew McLaglen the very low rent John Ford wanna be.  The film had three sort of past their prime stars, Kirk Douglas, Richard Widmark and an either inebriated or just didn't care Robert Mitchum.   The female leads were Lola Albright a kind of sexy lady who isn't very sexy in this film and Sally Field playing some kind of western teenage slutty version of "Gidget".

The story is about a wagon train on the hazardous journey from Missouri to Oregon.  The wagon train has a number of typical wagon train adventures.  Indians mess with them because they want some "firewater"  a pretty offensive stereotype.  A crossing the river sequence which seems to be a standard troupe in this kind of film and the usual baby being born on the journey bit.  In fact I think it's safe to say the whole film is just a bunch of rehashed situations from previous wagon train films and TV shows. 

If the film has anything going for it at all it's the spectacular cinematography of William H. Clothier who had worked with John Ford and McLaglen.  The western vistas of the wagon train are impressive but in a film like this how many western vistas can you watch after a while especially with the nonsense going on in the story.

It would be easy to call this film "old fashioned" entertainment but I've seen silent film westerns that are more contemporary than The Way West.

122 minutes.

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