This is a blog which primarily gives some attention to movies that I find were overlooked (for whatever reason) or are simply underrated. I also comment on other, mainly movie-related issues as well. I welcome any suggestions for films to be added to this distinguished list.

One word of warning: The films listed below contain spoilers, so caution during reading is required.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hannie Caulder (1971)

"Like the man said, there aren't any hard women, only soft men."
-Hannie Caulder.

This may sound ironic, but, in some ways, the western, a genre indigenous to the U.S., has become the most problematic for American filmmakers over the decades.

As someone whose father grew up with westerns on TV and the big screen, I certainly have an idea of how they thrived during the 1930s-1960s.

Today, though, while we have successes such as the History Channel's Hatfields & McCoys, westerns themselves seem few and far between.

We've certainly had homages, such as many of Quentin Tarantino's movies, including his upcoming one Django Unchained. While we have yet to see how good that film is, for every bonafide success like Unforgiven (1992), we get crap like Bad Girls (1994), which leads to another drought of the genre again.

I've heard some say that the western began dying out by the start of the 1970s. Hannie Caulder is one which arrived during that time, although it did not make the same impression as the Clint Eastwood films High Plains Drifter (1973) and The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) or John Wayne's swan song The Shootist (1976).

The title character (Raquel Welch) is a simple woman whose life is turned upside down after she is raped, her house burned to the ground, and her husband murdered by three brothers (Ernest Borgnine, Strother Martin, and Jack Elam).

Hannie is left for dead, but encounters bounty hunter Thomas Price (Robert Culp), who reluctantly agrees to help her seek revenge by training her in gun use.

After obtaining weapons from gunsmith Bailey (Christopher Lee, a great actor whom I seem to end up writing about a lot on this site), they confront the murderous trio.

While the rape scene is not as jolting as the ones in Deliverance (1972) and Boys Don't Cry (1999), Borgnine, Martin, and Elam still manage to give us villains we love to hate and are clearly having fun.

Not surprisingly, the posters for this film emphasized Welch's sex appeal. Fortunately, this film is still entertaining because, unlike the four actresses in the aforementioned Bad Girls (Madeline Stowe, Drew Barrymore, Andie MacDowell, and Mary Stuart Masterson), Welch is given an actual character to play and has a great supporting cast to back her up.

Indeed, one could say this film is everything Girls should have been because that movie basically tries to become a revisionist western without bothering to show any grittiness (let alone realism) of that time period. This was quite a shame since the four leading actresses are all charismatic and deserved a better film to share the screen with. For all the crimes Girls commits (check out this review for a list of those crimes) I'd say the four leads deserve the least amount of blame for its failure.

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