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Author Topic: Lawman (1971)  (Read 20708 times)
cigar joe
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« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2006, 03:56:10 PM »

I just saw this movie two weeks ago and I loved it. Great psychological western. Even though I'm not a big fan of those types of westerns, this one is an exception.

I'm just flabbergasted that I never heard of this Western before, its now way up there on my AW list. I'm wondering how many other lost gems may be out there?

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« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2006, 10:41:31 PM »

That makes me wonder how this is rated in books on AW.

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« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2006, 04:57:22 AM »

Here you go:

Leonard Maltin (TV & Movie Guide 1989)

Lawman (1970) ***.... Intriguing thought-Western about stoic marshal who comes into unfamiliar town to bring back wanted men, refusing to sway from duty even though the entire town turns against him. Unsatisfactory resolution mars otherwise compelling story. Ryan gives one of his finest performances as timid sheriff.

Jay Hyams (Life & Times of the Western Movie 1983)

The notion that personal revenge inspires the dedicated pursuit of criminals is refuted, in a sence, in another film by Michael Winner. In Lawman (United Artists, 1970), Burt Lancaster plays a law officer named Jarred Maddox. a man thoroughly devoted to his duty. Hunting seven men who accidentally killed an old man during a drunken binge, Maddox rides into a strange town and finds that the men he is after all work for the local rancher, Vincent Bronson (Lee J. Cobb). Even when he has the entire town against him, the lawman presists in his efforts to bring in the culprits. Amazed at the man's determination, a storekeeper figures that it must be a matter of personal vengence. "Kin?" he inquires. "No" responds Maddox, "just a lawman."

Herb Fagen (The Encyclodedia of Westerns 2003)

Jared Maddox (BL) a stoic philosophical marshal, rides into an unfamiliar town determined to hunt down seven men who accidently killed an old man during a drunken rage. He learns that each of them work for a local rancher Vincent Bronson. Even when the entire town turns against him, Maddox continues the pursuit determined to bring the men to justice. When a storekeeper inquires into his motive, suggesting that the man they killed must have been his kin, and hisunyielding pursuit must be a matter of personal revenge, Maddox responds "no just a lawman." Robert Ryan again turns in a marvelous performance as the towns timid sheriff which can only make the pundits wonder why he never gained enormous industry stature mhe so richly deserved.


A Shoot-'Em-Up 'Lawman' Bows
HOWARD THOMPSON.
Published: New York Times, August 5, 1971

Some cutting dialogue and boiling psychological tension are the most winning things about "Lawman," a potent but curiously exasperating Western with those three hardies, Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan and Lee J. Cobb.

This is the setup, familiar but perfectly viable. An iron-jawed realistic marshal, played by Lancaster, arrives in town to arrest an iron-jawed land baron and his henchmen for accidentally killing an old man. The crime, we repeat, was accidental and everybody knows it.

Why, then, wouldn't this shrewd visitor ride straight to the ranch of his main quarry and confront this equally intelligent chap? This is Cobb. Instead, the intruder aggressively stalks around town, arousing the hatred of the good (and weak) citizens and the halfhearted support of a bright, weak sheriff, Ryan. Cobb's boys murderously go at the intruder one by one.

There is, indeed, a baffling, oblique arrogance about the central character, played well by Lancaster, that belies his seeming quest for justice ("The law is the law"), the point of the film. But he is also a cold, egocentric fish. Wait till you see the final, main-street shoot-'em-up.

While unresolved in substance, the picture is long on sting, as sharply directed by England's Michael Winner and cynically turned by the writer, Gerald Wilson. The acting is solid, straight down the line. Especially good are Robert Duvall, Albert Salmi and Sheree North, a lady who has never had her just acclaim.

But it doesn't hold water, or convincing fire, for all the shooting.

Ozus' World Movie Reviews /8/8/2006

"... wannabe thoughtful Western."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Englishman Michael Winner ("The Stone Killer"/"Scorpio"/'Death Wish") helms his first Western in this unofficial remake of the 1955 "Man with the Gun," with the hardnosed Burt Lancaster in the Robert Mitchum role. It's a traditional Western, shot in Durango, Mexico, that's influenced by the spaghetti western, as it pours on an excessive amount of violence and gore while never getting satisfactorily to whatever psychological aims it had in mind; such as, to probe how far a man can compromise doing what's right and whether by not compromising one's beliefs the end will justify the means. 

Dedicated, by-the-book, taciturn, stern and unyielding lawman Jered Maddox (Burt Lancaster) rides into a neighboring town called Sabbath, where he has no jurisdiction, to bring to justice seven cowpokes who went on a drunken spree and accidently killed an old man in his town of Bannock. Sabbath's weak-kneed marshal living only on memories when he once was a man, Cotton Ryan (Robert Ryan), refuses to help Maddox, saying the men worked for cattle baron Vincent Bronson (Lee J. Cobb) who supports the town and in return demands loyalty. 

The exceptional cast is stuck with clunky dialogue it somehow manages to overcome. Lancaster is solid in his stoic marshal role, Ryan is convincing as the conflicted bought marshal, Cobb as the ruthless villainous corrupt boss tries hard to give his character some breath and not to be one dimensional as he searches his soul for answers and Sheree North is fine as Lancaster's love interest and one hope of softening his stance. But it's all for naught. The wannabe thoughtful Western, lacking style and freshness, can't get away from its bloodbath thrills as Lancaster methodically goes after his prey even as the entire town turns against him--little else matters when all is said and done. 

Apollo Guide Review (Scott Weinberg):

One of the more delightful aspects of the digital revolution is that several studios (most notably MGM and Warner) are sprucing up some dusty old movies from yesteryear and giving them the DVD treatment. I doubt there have been any online petitions supporting a DVD release of this 1971 Burt Lancaster western, but here it is…and any chance to revisit what is essentially a forgotten movie is welcome in my home. I had to look this one up online, as I knew nothing about it. If you knew me, you’d know how freaky that is.

Released in 1971 and directed by Michael Winner (Heaven Help Us, Death Wish and its two sequels), Lawman is not your traditional western shoot ‘em up, although there are more than a few exciting standoffs throughout. Much like Don Siegel’s The Shootist and Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven, this is a sincere morality tale, only wrapped in an Old West exterior.

Marshall Jered Maddux arrives in the sleepy frontier town of Sabbath with a list of wanted fugitives. He explains to the cowardly Marshall Ryan that these seven men are wanted in his hometown for the accidental killing of an old man. Unfortunately, the suspects are all currently employed by Vincent Bronson, the cattle baron who essentially owns the entire town. Maddux’s unwavering dedication to the letter of the law disrupts the entire town and the local businessmen are as intent on removing Maddux as Bronson’s henchmen are.

While Winner’s screenplay is certainly not the model of originality, the old west clichés are presented with a fresh slant, and Lawman proves to be an engrossing film despite the familiar trappings. Aside from the irritated townsfolk and the villainous gunslingers, Maddux comes across an old flame tangled up with the wrong guy, a nemesis from the past who may or may not be on the right side of the law and a young cowboy eager to make a name for himself.

As Maddux, Burt Lancaster is positively stoic. In a performance that can best be described as “Joe Friday in the Old West,” Lancaster simply exudes honour and righteousness. As the craven local Marshall, Robert Ryan is fantastic and Lee J. Cobb plays the “evil cattle baron” role with a surprising degree of sense and humanity. Aside from the three leads, there are several enjoyable performances, including turns by Richard Jordan (of Logan’s Run, in his debut here), Albert Salmi (Dragonslayer) and a young Robert Duvall (less than a year before he’d appear in The Godfather).

As an old-fashioned western action film, Lawman works well enough. But thanks to some thought-provoking ideas on ‘legal murder’ and ‘honour amongst thieves,’ this is better than a straight shoot ‘em up. If you’re a fan of westerns or you simply enjoy your action movies presented with some deeper concepts than just “kill ‘em all,” Lawman is a forgotten little flick that’s definitely worth your time.





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« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2006, 06:49:54 AM »

Thanx. It is significant that the two western sources you quote don't venture a rating but just give some scant plot info: maybe they did see the SW influence and balked? The other ones, some are to the point others less. Still I think that all in all, if one hadn't seen it, by reading them one should be inclined to watch it, shouldn't he?
Anyway I'll be on the lookout for the Mitchum original. Ever seen it, CJ?


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Tim
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« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2006, 04:13:23 PM »

  Roger Ebert gave Lawman two stars, but it seems like he's close to giving it a positive review....or maybe that's just my interpretation of his review. 

 http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19710831/REVIEWS/108310301/1023

  He also gave OUATITW 2.5 stars in 1969, but seems to have backed off that stance in recent years.

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« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2006, 04:06:27 AM »

No titoli,  I haven't seen the Mitchum original, I'll keep an eye out for it though.  Wink

Here is Herb Fagen's review from "The Encyclopedia of Westerns", doesn't sound quite the same.

Man with the Gun (aka Deadly Peacekeeper: The Trouble Shooter)

An alienated Clint Tollinger (Mitchum) rides into a town in search of his estrangled wife. Sheridan City is a lawless town, so the folk there hire him as town gunman, paying him $500 for his services. He is remarkably successful, managing to shoot up a band of outlaws, establish a curfew, and push the outlaws and their guns out of town. While the good townfolk applaud his endeavors, they start to castigate him for being too violent. Finally, once the threat is gone, they no longer want him around. Mitchun is superb in this slow-moving film with a familiar and straight forward theme. Look for Angie Dickenson in the uncredited role of Kitty.

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« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2006, 10:33:58 AM »

This sounds more like Death of a Gunfighter's plot than The Lawman's.

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« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2006, 01:41:01 PM »

This sounds more like Death of a Gunfighter's plot than The Lawman's.

It definitely does.

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« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2006, 07:42:29 PM »

Got the DVD (MGM Western Legends) of this and popped it in and watched this again, (another SW bow is the prominent use of crosses in a few cemetery sequences that I didn't notice before) I also watched the trailer which is definitely slanted towards a SW type trailer. If they had used Jerry Fieldings music cut from the trailer it would have improved that aspect of the film immensely, too bad.


here is the trailer check it out:

http://www.mgm.com/video_window.do?formatid=690&videoid=285

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« Reply #24 on: May 30, 2007, 01:23:55 AM »

No, I mean the way he does away with himself. I think that maybe (maybe) he should have tried for him, knowing it was a lost cause anyway.

I thought he killed himself because his son had just been killed? Not because he was afraid of being done in by Lancaster.

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« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2007, 10:05:07 PM »

Lawman (1971) 8/10

A heavily Spaghetti Western influenced Film starring Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Lee J. Cobb, and a young Robert Duvall. From the opening sequences this film screams Spaghetti Western from it's camera angles. Some people call it a SW ripoff. I don't understand why. It's paying homage to a great sub-genre that spawed some of the greatest films ever made. I don't see anything wrong with that. 

The music in this film is pretty damn good. You can hear it in the beginning as Maddox (Lancaster) rides on his horse towards the town. The gunfights were directed beautifully by Michael Winner who I think is an underrated director who doesn't get talked about much. He has some solid work on his resume. The violence very much resembles that of a spaghetti western or even a Sam Peckinpah film.

If you want to watch a great western that's often overlooked, then give Lawman a shot. It's an underrated classic in my opinion. Great and shocking ending top it off!


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« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2007, 12:20:08 AM »

Because I was so rudely interupted before, I'm going to post my review for "Lawman" again....

Lawman (1971) 8/10

A heavily Spaghetti Western influenced Film starring Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Lee J. Cobb, and a young Robert Duvall. From the opening sequences this film screams Spaghetti Western from it's camera angles. Some people call it a SW ripoff. I don't understand why. It's paying homage to a great sub-genre that spawed some of the greatest films ever made. I don't see anything wrong with that. 

The music in this film is pretty damn good. You can hear it in the beginning as Maddox (Lancaster) rides on his horse towards the town. The gunfights were directed beautifully by Michael Winner who I think is an underrated director who doesn't get talked about much. He has some solid work on his resume. The violence very much resembles that of a spaghetti western or even a Sam Peckinpah film.

If you want to watch a great western that's often overlooked, then give Lawman a shot. It's an underrated classic in my opinion. Great and shocking ending top it off!


Sounds promising, if that were the case wouldn't every western after 1964 be a spaghetti western rip-off?

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« Reply #27 on: August 16, 2007, 12:22:18 AM »

I didn't find the music all that good. The music in the trailer was much better.
I prefer Lancaster's other spaghetti like outing "VALDEZ IS COMING".

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« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2007, 12:26:37 AM »

I didn't find the music all that good. The music in the trailer was much better.
I prefer Lancaster's other spaghetti like outing "VALDEZ IS COMING".

There were certain sequences though where I loved the music. Most notably the beginning sequence with Lancaster and the sequence where Maddux (Lancaster) follows Vernon (Duvall) up the mountain. I loved the music in these sequences.

Speaking of "VALDEZ IS COMING" Firecracker, is it really that good? I've read mixed reviews of this. I'm sure you can give me some insight on it. Thanks.

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« Reply #29 on: August 16, 2007, 12:28:32 AM »

Sounds promising, if that were the case wouldn't every western after 1964 be a spaghetti western rip-off?

Yeah somewhat. After the spaghetti western started to take off, we definitely seen the violence in American Westerns increase, meaning more blood, and less cut aways after shootings.

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