The Desperados (1969)
Desperate but not a Disaster
One time parson, Josiah Galt (Jack Palance) along with his sons and other Confederate rebels take to being bandits who attack towns for their own pleasure be it murder, stealing or raping the women. But for David Galt (Vince Edwards) it has become too much and is disgusted by what his father, brothers and the men in their command are doing leading him to leave. A few years down the line and having moved to Chilon, Texas with his wife Laura (Sylvia Syms) and son Pauly (Benjamin Edney) he has to deal with the past he left behind when they arrive to rob the bank.
"The Desperados" is the sort of western you find yourself becoming immersed in but finding yourself thinking what could be better about it. It all starts with what feels like a typical western tragedy; the outlaw who left his bad ways to settle down to a family life only to find his past catching up to him and forcing him to confront what he has been trying to get away from. The good news is that there is an edge to this that whilst you initially expect him to be the hero and come good you grow to wonder whether bad will win out over good or whether there will be a down beat ending. But you still feel that more could be done with it when it comes to the characters and the conflicts.
The reason I say that is because "The Desperados" is a very visual movie, from action scenes where people take dramatic tumbles through roofs, where the air is filled with the smoke from guns and much more. And when it isn't action it is beauty and flesh with scenes such as Laura, played by Sylvia Syms, topless in a river, her arms barely covering herself. The look is impressive especially when it comes to the actual stock which I don't know the technical term for but feels over exposed so that the whites of the eyes stand out against the skin.
That sense of enjoyable but could be better extends to the acting and the likes of Vince Edwards and Sylvia Syms whose own son Benjamin Edney is her son in the movie are good but you just feel there could have been more with better written characters. And then there is Jack Palance as the evil Josiah and for me Palance over acts his way through the entire movie as he over does the sneering and growling to make Josiah seem evil.
What this all boils down to is that "The Desperados" is an entertaining western with plenty of nice touches but on top of a few issues you find yourself thinking what could have been done better and there is a fair bit.
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