DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE DESPERADOS (director: Henry Levin; screenwriters: Walter Brough/story by Clarke Reynolds; cinematographer: Sam Leavitt; editor:  Geoffrey Foot; music:  David Whitaker; cast: Vince Edwards  (David Galt), Sylvia Syms  (Laura), Jack Palance  (Parson Josiah Galt), George Maharis  (Jacob Galt), Neville Brand  (Sheriff Kilpatrick), Christian Roberts (Adam Galt), Kate O'Mara (Adah); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: M; producer: Irving Allen; Columbia Pictures; 1969)

"An unpleasant below average revenge western about an outlaw rebel family ruled by a fanatical sicko father."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An unpleasant below average revenge western about an outlaw rebel family ruled by a fanatical sicko father. It's set during the end of the Civil War, and is a British-USA co-production. Henry Levin ("The Ambushers"/"The Man From Colorado"/"The Warriors") directs without merit, as it lacks everything from good direction to good acting. A hammy Jack Palance is the chief villain in the story and in the bad acting department. The story is by Clarke Reynolds; the inept screenplay is by Walter Brough.

As the Civil War draws to a close, the rabid psychopathic Parson Josiah Galt (Jack Palance) and his three sons, Adam (Christian Roberts), Jacob (George Maharis), and David (Vince Edwards), lead a gang of southern guerilla pillagers and rapists. Josiah is crazed over the death of his visionary Indian wife and ruthlessly raids the Kansas town of St. Thomas. Revolted over the carnage inflicted, David tries to escape from his family but is captured. Dad accuses him of treason and plans to execute him, but David escapes and lives under a new name with his wife Laura (Sylvia Syms) in Texas. Six years later, after the war, the notorious Galt boys are still marauders. The gang catches up with David and the climax has David set a trap with the local sheriff (Neville Brand) to catch the gang in a foiled railroad heist. It leads to a tragic confrontation between father and son, as prophesized by David's soothsayer mom.

The dialogue is stilted, the action sequences are by the numbers, the characters are wooden and one-dimensional types, and the story telling is ridiculous. The beautiful Spanish countryside subs for Texas.

REVIEWED ON 10/2/2013       GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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