Monday, December 28, 2009


(Harvey Hart, 1976)
This conflicted 'women's movie' is paradoxically at its best when it's wallowing in the sordid details of machismo. Tony Lo Bianco is great as the alcoholic bronco rider, but he's inevitably greater dishing out male-chauvinist invective at the beginning than reciting hushed and wise climactic speeches about letting the lady think for herself. Actually her decision is both a foregone conclusion and a highly dubious fantasy; build the homestead and the wife will come back. Imagine the insights that could have been accessed if she didn't bite. With Harvey Hart and Lionel Chetwynd at the reins, it's all done with an uncommon level of craftsmanship, and for the first half the downcast brutality is delivered with energy and verve. But what follows is so transparent and so wrong that it looks like the good guys gave up. Donald Pleasance's dirt-farming souse gets a great intro before being shoehorned into stock sidekick duties.