Below the Border: “100 Rifles” (1969)


   “100 Rifles” is a fast-paced western adventure unfolding amid the chaos of the Mexican Revolution, completely unlike Tom Gries’ earlier film- the overlooked masterwork “Will Penny” -this film suffers from a perpetual  inconsistency of tone; veering wildly from dramatic urgency to faux slapstick villainy (The latter usually reserved to accompany the more sadistic applications of torture and murder) expressed through a wildly fluctuating screenplay that betrays it’s more sobering elements of tribal genocide for the sarcastic callousness of buddy-buddy witticisms amid  inappropriately partnered backdrops of indiscriminate bloodletting.

   Needless to say, the script is a rather sketchy effort, with the potential for a strong narrative line, but due to the violent divergences of tone, regressing into an often calamitous episodic hodgepodge; the plot becomes increasingly full of holes, resulting in a fractious proclivity toward leaving connective events unexplained nor motives addressed. For instance, Lyedecker pursues a fleeing Yaqui Joe and both are later caught by Verdugo and his men, the General making great sport of capturing a pair of anti-military antagonists when a simple explanation by Lyedecker might work wonders to clear the misconception, but the man stays strangely silent or- worse yet -finds the occasion to irritate the despot with a string of flippant remarks, something that continuously devalues the dramatic core of many of the most tonally waffling scenes; and actions that are also out of character with how the role of Lyedecker is developed both by the script and by the actor.

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About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in 1960's cinema, 1960's movies, drive-in cinema, Drive-In Movies, Film, Film Reviews, Jim Brown, movie reviews, Movies, Raquel Welch, Reviews, westerns and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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