HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
   
 
  Mountain Men, The How much wood would Chuck chuck?Buy this film here.
Year: 1980
Director: Richard Lang
Stars: Charlton Heston, Brian Keith, Victoria Racimo, Stephen Macht, John Glover, Seymour Cassel, David Ackroyd, Cal Bellini, William Lucking, Ken Ruta, Victor Jory, Danny Zapien
Genre: Western, Adventure
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Grizzled, cantankerous fur trappers Bill Tyler (Charlton Heston) and Henry Frapp (Brian Keith) are among the last of the mountain men that blazed a trail for American pioneers through the Northwest wilderness. Now their time is spent fighting hostile Blackfoot warriors as they hunt beaver pelts for trade, drink, carouse and reminisce about the old days. When Tyler shelters a runaway Native American woman named Running Moon (Victoria Racimo) he earns the enmity of her abusive husband, Heavy Eagle (Stephen Macht) who is determined to see them both dead.

Charlton Heston arguably delivered a worthy swansong western with Tom Gries' fine, elegaic Will Penny (1968) but twice returned to the genre with increasingly dreary results. Heston's final western, The Mountain Men was scripted by his son Fraser C. Heston. He would go on to play a larger role in the latter stage of his father's career: scripting, producing and occasionally directing vehicles like Mother Lode (1982), Treasure Island (1990) and the Sherlock Holmes adaptation Crucible of Blood (1991). Heston junior and even cast his famous dad as the villain in his family film Alaska (1998). Alas, their first screen collaboration came to an unfortunate end when producers drastically altered Fraser Heston's allegedly darker script. There remain a few hints as to what might have been: moments when Tyler and Frapp face the sobering truth that their time has passed; the otherwise brutal Heavy Eagle raises valid points about the destruction wrought by white settlers; a remarkably vivid tableaux of frontier life where trappers, pioneers, preachers and Native Americans gather to drink, carouse, chant, dance and fornicate in credibly grubby fashion. However the compromises and alterations are apparent in a story that ambles along with strange gaps where events seem to occur off-camera and characters with seemingly significant roles (e.g. John Glover as callow young frontiersman Nathan Wyeth, David Ackroyd as good-natured, accident-prone Crow warrior Medicine Wolf) just disappear.

What we are left with is a would-be rollicking lark. A sort of Grumpy Old Men go west wherein Heston and Keith bicker and brawl their way through one meandering mishap after another. That is when they are not battling Native Americans in scenes that play more uncomfortably now than did back then. Snowcapped mountain scenery, majestically photographed by D.P. Michael Hugo, imparts a mildly epic quality to what is a resolutely old-fashioned story even though first-time director Richard Lang rings the changes with profanity, casual nudity, bloodier violence and a rape scene. Lang stages the action in bland, even clumsy fashion. Realistic perhaps but dramatically inert. Scruffy, bearded and suitably weather-beaten Charlton Heston - then fifty-seven years old - still cuts an imposing heroic figure. He shines especially towards the latter stages where events take a grim turn and the film becomes a survival thriller with Tyler on his own fleeing the vengeful Heavy Eagle. Tense and suspenseful with a well orchestrated escape through raging white water rapids this portion of the film evokes Sam Fuller's cult western Run of the Arrow (1957), but was supposedly inspired by an actual historical event that befell John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Elsewhere Brian Keith is a solid presence in an otherwise under-developed role seemingly based on nineteenth century trapper and fur trader Henry Fraeb. Victoria Racimo gives a credibly strident performance that pleasingly refuses to fade into the background. Even if her character remains something of a possession fought over by men. Veteran character actor Victor Jory makes his final screen appearance as an ancient Indian chief. Much like Brian Keith, he looks a little too pleased with himself making out with disconcertingly young looking Native American girls. Too much in the film happens too abruptly including one character's death, inexplicable resurrection and swift killing off again. All of which suggests either Lang ran out of time to film certain key scenes or the movie was hastily reworked in post-production. Either way The Mountain Men falls short of its aspirations toward the lyricism of the similar but superior Jeremiah Johnson (1972).

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 242 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
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: