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: Catlow (1971)  ( 389 )

« : June 24, 2017, 05:35:59 AM »

You can't steal from a man just because you don't know his name.

Catlow is directed by Sam Wanamaker and adapted to screenplay from the Louis L'Amour novel by Scott Finch and J.J. Griffith. It stars Yul Brynner, Richard Crenna, Leonard Nimoy and Daliah Lavi. Filmed in Metrocolor/Panavision, photography is by Ted Scaife and music by Roy Budd.

One time buddies in the Civil War, Catlow (Brynner) and Cowan (Crenna), are now on opposite sides of the law. Let the shenanigans begin!

Catlow is one of those Oaters that is - in spite of its ordinariness - so harmless to the point it's near impossible to dislike with genuine displeasure. Essentially it finds Brynner and Crenna as pals constantly playing cat and mouse with each other, all while they are entangled in danger (courtesy of Mexican soldiers, Indians and Nimoy's vengeful gunman) and affairs of the heart (Lavi and the beautiful Jo Ann Pflug).

It's all very formulaic, and directed as such, but there's still a lot going for it. Everybody seems to be having a good time of things, with some hamming it up on purpose - obviously with a tongue in cheek nod to Spaghetti Westerns - others relishing chances to exude ebullience (Lavi) and gruff meanness (Nimoy). There's some truly funny moments, with witty dialogue to match, and the action scenes are as solid as the rock formations that boom out of the Almeria locations.

Budd's musical score is a bit hit and miss, often sounding like it belongs in an episode of Alias Smith and Jones as opposed to a full feature length film, while there's a lack of an edge to make the finale be anything other than run of the mill. Tis fun though! Pic looks lovely, with TCM HD channel showing a print that extols the virtues of having a top cinematographer on lens duties. Harmless and enjoyable enough, even if ultimately it's forgettable once over. 6/10

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