stardom was supernova, thanks to Dirty Harry
; John Sturges, the man behind The Magnificent Seven
and a dozen other memorably leathery Westerns, was directing; and Elmore Leonard was the screenwriter. It just goes to show. Joe Kidd
is a muddle and a drag, the shoddiest Eastwood vehicle since Rowdy Yates trod in his last cow flop. Kidd, first seen as a duded-up drunk sleeping one off in jail, is supposed to be a horse rancher and an expert tracker--just the fellow a rapacious land-grabber (Robert Duvall committing lazy villainy) needs to chase down the uppity Latino (John Saxon
) who's trying to reclaim the grabbed land for its rightful owners. Neither the characters nor the overland pursuit makes any sense, thanks to chasms in the continuity and no direction to speak of. An absurdly arbitrary assault-by-locomotive provides the climax; as Eastwood observed, "Jesus, anything at this point--let's end it." --Richard T. Jameson
Clint Eastwood plays a drunken tracker coerced by American business tycoon Robert Duvall to go in search of Mexican agitator John Saxon. Scripted by renowned crime writer Elmore Leonard.