Did anyone notice that Charlie made 2 of his best (maybe his best) pictures one after another, both directed by Michael Winner (who did some more nice entries in the Bronson catalog), both scored by Jerry Fiedling (superbly, if I may add), "CHATO'S LAND" and "THE MECHANIC" (from whom Tarantine chose to quote in "Kill Bill II") ??!! I must have watched both movies app. half a dozen times and they seem to get better with every viewing (despite knowing its ending)!
First, these are films made for men, not children or family-viewing. And let's be honest, if you wanna see a good, though, well played movie today, what you're gonna do?? Certainly not go to the cinema, were you see noisy, trashy high-budget trash in a row. You buy yourself a DVD or watch some late-night viewing of a 70ies movie on TV! And these two movies are certainly as good as it can get!
Second, these movies are more less silent! You don't hear some silly dialog through it all, but just men saying a few words, when it's really needed. Those people, who talk a lot in such movies, are happily the first ones that gonna be shot (and it's good this way)! Everybody's always pointing out who little Arnold is saying in "TERMINATOR" (of course the first one), a real good movie, too! Well, get yourself CHATO'S LAND. In the German dubbed version good old Charlie (God bless him!) spoke less than 10 words in German and maybe another dozen or so in some tribal language, that's it! I'd take a bet that there is most likely no other non-silent movie every made, in which the hero says as few words as in this one!!
And while we're at comparing it to Schwarzenegger/Terminator, did anybody notice those MUSCLES of Charlie??!! And these are certainly no anabolic-stuff, but real hard & honest earned ones! If we'd take Charlie in his prime (when he made this one, he was HALF A CENTURY OLD = 50 years!!!) and compare it to Schwarzenegger, when he was 50 not that long ago ... I'd say Charlie would have wiped the carpet with him, should there have been any reason for an argument. I'd just wish I'd have looked that well, when I was 30, not to speak of being 50 (not yet).
The guy is just SO COOL in this movie as well as in THE MECHANIC (and many more in fact))!
OK, I hear the critics saying, this is just a "silly" revenge-movie (note: made before DEATH WISH I !!). Nope, it ain't !! First, it's not that important, what the story is, what really counts is how it is delivered: movie-experts doing what they can at the highest level! It's just GREAT to watch them delivering all the expected scenes without getting whimsical, talky or making compromises. This is a men's movie made for men! And second, it's not stupid at all! Why does everybody has to go on his knees in front of authorities (the sheriff)? Esp. if you're part of a badly treated minority! He's on his own, when a big crowd invades HIS LAND (like the USA did in Vietnam) and he wipes them off. He knows the land better than everybody else, he's trained and intelligent (the followers are more stupid, but not completely), so he does what he has to do. At the end the winner is logical and probably that's the movie, Mr. Bush should have watched before entering the Iraque ...
OK, back to the movie. What about the acting? Wooden??? Come on, it ain't, it's just perfect for this movie!! Would you like to see some what-they-call-"actor"-today (say, Adrien Brody, who wasn't too convincing in KING KONG either) delivering this?? It would just be "strange"/ridiculous. And the other members of the crew? Just perfect! Palance, superb (as always, but he should have avoided City Slickers), Basehart and Whitmore, great! Just the kinda support crew one needs and which is simply non-existent today (and which is sadly missed!).
One critic complained about the "cheap look" (??) of the movie, and that it must have been inexpensive to make. Well, so what? First, blockbusters suck anyway, every 2 minutes an explosion is just noisy and boring (but obviously expensive) anyway and the scenery is in fact superbly chosen! It's just THE MAN, the scenery and his doomed followers. The land is as bleak as the fate of the followers/hunters. It's empty, it's pure, it's honest, it's something for "desert-rats". :-)) So to sum up: you can't chose better for a great action movie of the 70ies (and that'w when most of the great actions movies were made!).
Moreless the same can be said about THE MECHANIC: tough, not-talky, thrilling, superbly shot and acted, great support cast, too, and what an ending !!! I'd LOVE to see these out on DVD with much bonus material (scenes from the set, one of Carlies too rare interviews: well, the guy stayed silent when there was not much too say, smile, although I would love him to still be among us and write some great autobiography!)!
What a loss, but then again he's hopefully having superb times, wherever he's now!
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