Release Year: 1968
Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Writers: James Lee Barrett (screenplay), Stanley L. Hough (story)
Starring: James Stewart, Dean Martin, Raquel Welch, George Kennedy, Andrew Prine, Will Geer, Clint Ritchie, Denver Pyle, Tom Heaton, Rudy Diaz, Sean McClory, Harry Carey, Jr., Guy Raymond
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #233, week 49 2018
Mace Bishop (James Stewart) masquerades as a hangman and saves his brother (Dean Martin) and his gang from the gallows. The ride towards Mexico with a beautiful hostage (Raquel Wench) followed by sheriff Johnson (George Kennedy) and his posse. Here they fight against a gang of Mexican outlaws known as Bandoleros.
This late 1960s Hollywood western has all the marks of the era. It has not embraced the new winds of the Italian westerns, such as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1968), nor does it have the polished feel of the classic American western. It seems caught somewhere in between. But Bandolero has a number of things going for it. The story is straight forward and lends itself well to western style action (as the trailer below puts lots of emphasis on), but throughout it is first and foremost a story about brothers. James Stewart (Shenandoah, 1965) is the older brother, weather-beaten and solitary, who comes to the rescue of his younger brother, Dee. Dean Martin (Rio Bravo, 1959) brings a sense of melancholy and wasted potential to Dee and in his meeting with Wench’s strong-willed and beautiful Maria opens to him the dream of a different life. The action is good, the characters are strong (even George Kennedy’s sheriff is nuanced and has his own reasons for pursuing them vehemently, for he too has fallen for Maria), and the climax is more memorable that most other endings. A good western with good solid performance. Recommended to western fans.
The film was shot at Alamo village which was constructed for John Wayne’s The Alamo (1960).
Locations and character names (such as July Johnson and Roscoe) were reused in Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, otherwise the two stories are not related.
George Kennedy and Dean Martin also appeared together in The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) and Airport (1970).
Picture Copyright: 20th Century Fox