HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
First Man
Machete Maidens Unleashed!
Cannibal Club, The
Grasshopper, The
Searching
Human Desire
Climax
Stiff Upper Lips
American Animals
Outlaws
Venom
World on a Wire
Velvet Buzzsaw
Picnic
Dick Dickman, PI
Hunter Killer
30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, The
Race for the Yankee Zephyr
Boys in the Band, The
Brainscan
T-Men
Blame
Upgrade
Evening with Beverly Luff Linn, An
Fear No Evil
One Cut of the Dead
Rosa Luxemburg
Disobedience
On the Job
Monsters and Men
   
 
Newest Articles
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
No, THIS Must Be the Place: True Stories on Blu-ray
Alf Garnett's Life After Death: Till Death... and The Thoughts of Chairman Alf on DVD
Balance of Power: Harold Pinter at the BBC on DVD
Strange Days 2: The Second Science Fiction Weirdness Wave
Strange Days: When Science Fiction Went Weird
Ha Ha Haaargh: Interview With Camp Death III in 2D! Director Matt Frame
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
   
 
  Draw! Showdown in Bell TownBuy this film here.
Year: 1984
Director: Steven Hilliard Stern
Stars: Kirk Douglas, James Coburn, Alexandra Bastedo, Graham Jarvis, Derek McGrath, Jason Michas
Genre: Western, Comedy, TV Movie
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Wandering cowboy Harry Holland (Kirk Douglas) rescues a runaway stagecoach carrying stage actress Bess (Alexandra Bastedo) on his way to Bell Town. There Harry beats rich scumbag Reggie Bell (Derek McGrath) in a poker game only to be prevented from collecting his winnings from the bank. In a shootout Harry unintentionally kills the local sheriff. Injured he barricades himself in a hotel room with Bess as his 'hostage' while the townsfolk debate what to do. Jittery deputy Wally Blodgett (Graham Jarvis) promptly heads down to Mexico and brings back former sheriff Sam Starret (James Coburn) who, although over-the-hill and a drunk, remains the one man able to match Harry Holland in a showdown.

Co-produced by Kirk Douglas' own Bryna company, Draw! is a warm and wistful sunset western showcasing two Hollywood greats whose charisma remained undimmed by age. Stanley Mann's engaging screenplay harks back to the one-man-against-an-unjust-world stories familiar from Douglas' classic westerns, most notably Lonely Are the Brave (1962). While Harry is a decent and honorable fellow trying to live down his past as an outlaw, the townsfolk are portrayed as petty and vindictive. Aside from a few notable exceptions the citizens of Bell Town use the pretext of 'civilization' to justify their own prejudice and thirst for blood and spectacle. Typical of a post-Sixties western, Draw! laments the passing of a certain generosity of spirit along with the old west and eulogizes honorable men like Harry and Sam. In the past each man had a chance to kill the other but, for reasons neither is willing to admit, could never bring themselves to do so. Now the townsfolk seem dead set on goading them into a showdown that seems inevitable.

Opening with rousing stagecoach chase undoubtedly included so the impressively athletic Douglas could show he could still cut it in the action hero game (his gun-twirling trickery is also undeniably cool), the film eventually settles into a more pedestrian drama. Cinematographer Laszlo George captures some beautiful scenic vistas but the plot is largely confined to interiors. Director Steven Hilliard Stern interweaves Harry bonding with Bess who gives him a glimpse of the happy domestic life he could have had and Wally's struggle to sneak Sam past Mexican bandidos and sober him up in time for a gunfight. Stern's eclectic directing career encompassed the black comedy I Wonder Who's Killing Her Now? (1975), psychological sports drama Running (1979) with Kirk's boy Michael Douglas, infamous Disney film The Devil and Max Devlin (1981) where Bill Cosby quite appropriately in retrospect portrayed Satan, anti-Dungeons & Dragons drama Mazes and Monsters (1982) featuring a young Tom Hanks and racy Phoebe Cates romance Baby Sister (1983). He seems to have been drawn to stories about loners going against the more oppressive aspects of mainstream society, as further evidenced in his Tangerine Dream-scored The Park Is Mine (1986) with Tommy Lee Jones as a crazed Vietnam war veteran and Black Fox (1993) an interesting interracial western that paired Christopher Reeve and Tony Todd. Stern's ability to juggle varying tones serves Draw! particularly well.

Although Draw! mines a lot of humour from Wally's increasingly frantic efforts to manoeuvre a drunk and delirious Sam into action, Stern wisely avoids slipping into outright spoof antics a la Douglas' past comedy western Cactus Jack (1979) a.k.a. The Villain. Mann's script mines a subtler vein of wry social satire. Its humour is never at the expense of an otherwise suspenseful narrative laced with poignant character interplay. Coburn's Sam Starret, first seen caught in a delirious haze haunted by the memory of the many men he has killed, is a gentler variation on his role in Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973). Emphasizing the mutual respect that underlines Starret and Holland's circumstantial rivalry the story builds to a satisfying payoff that harks back to Harry's early declaration that the most important thing in life is in whom one puts their trust.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 442 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Enoch Sneed
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
   

 

Last Updated: