HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Justine
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Suspect
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Breeder
Stump the Guesser
Sator
Last Warning, The
PVT CHAT
Ascent, The
Clementine
Hurt by Paradise
   
 
Newest Articles
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County, The A Hoss of a different colour
Year: 1970
Director: Ranald McDougall, Anton Leader
Stars: Dan Blocker, Nanette Fabray, Jim Backus, Wally Cox, Jack Elam, Henry Jones, Stubby Kaye, Mickey Rooney, Noah Beery Jr, Marge Champion, Don 'Red' Barry, Hamilton Camp, Tom Basham, Iron Eyes Cody, James McCallion, Jack Cassidy
Genre: Western, Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: The sleepy western town of Calico is abuzz with news that Charley (Dan Blocker), the big, kindly if socially-inept local blacksmith sent a year's savings back East for a mail-order bride. Everyone gathers at the train station to see Charley greet his wife-to-be. Only for the poor man to be left heartbroken when she does not come. So humiliated is Charley he decides to leave town. Fearing the town will be paralyzed with the loss of their one and only blacksmith, Sheriff Staunch (Jim Backus) hatches a plan to have 'saloon girl' (classic western talk for prostitute) Sadie (Nanette Fabray) pass herself off as Charley's intended. The ploy works well enough but before long Sadie starts to feel guilty about conning goodhearted Charley. Further complications arise when her violent boyfriend Roger Hand (Jack Cassidy) returns to town, forcing the locals to think fast.

Dan Blocker's first lead role in a feature film was sadly also his last. Beloved by television viewers as burly, big-hearted Hoss Cartwright on long-running western show Bonanza he succumbed to a pulmonary embolism two years after the release of Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County, aged just forty-three. In real-life Blocker, who taught history in high school, held a degree in English literature and was studying for his PhD, was far from the simpletons he portrayed on screen. Here his skill as an actor is well evident as he wrings a fair measure of pathos from his role as a lovelorn oaf. Unfortunately despite a likable lead and the sterling efforts of a (mostly) committed cast The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County is a comic dud. Things get off to a promising start striking the right tragicomic note and investing our sympathy in poor, sweet-natured Charley. Yet once Sadie agrees to play along with the ruse (solely, she claims, to put the stuck-up local ladies' noses out of joint) the plot inexplicably runs out of steam. Comedy westerns are a notoriously tricky genre to pull off. This has none of the charm of Cat Ballou (1965) nor subversive wit of Burt Kennedy's two ingenious James Garner vehicles: Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969) and Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971). Nor indeed the flat-out hilarity of Bob Hope's numerous outings in the genre, particularly Son of Paleface (1952).

Ranald McDougall, the prolific screenwriter behind among others Mildred Pierce (1945), Cleopatra (1963) and Jigsaw (1968), strives for pathos with a love story where two lonely social misfits with low self-esteem find solace in each other. The film has the benefit of a folksy western milieu very similar to that found in television westerns like Bonanza along with an array of familiar comedy character actors. Among them Jim Backus (the voice of Mr. Magoo!), Wally Cox, Mickey Rooney, Stubby Kaye, a scene-stealing Jack Elam as a comically near-sighted bounty hunter and the talented but tragically ill-fated Jack Cassidy. The cast lend the film what energy it has although, curiously, the one actor out of step with the material is Nanette Fabray. Not only does the script make it hard to warm to the sour, under-motivated Sadie, Fabray's indifferent interaction with Blocker saps its emotional core.

Lethargic pacing and a plot that takes forever to connect the dots also conspire to let the film down. It is possible McDougall realized the premise was too thin to stretch out to a movie as midway through shooting he handed directing duties to television stalwart Anton Leader, whose only other feature film credit was sci-fi horror Children of the Damned (1964). Whoever wound up shooting the bulk of the movie made surprisingly little out of some promising comic ingredients. Instead the film falls back on trite slapstick involving drunken clowning at the local saloon, an uncooperative horse named Lightning Bolt and Elam's amusingly antisocial antics in a failed attempt to galvanize a listless affair. A great shame. Dan Blocker fans would be better off checking out his earlier made-for-TV western Something for a Lonely Man (1968) where the star also played a downtrodden small town blacksmith. Talk about typecasting.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1685 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: