Say what you will about Euan Lloyd, but you've got to admire his almost foolproof gift for taking interesting subject matter and a great cast and producing something relatively mediocre. In Shalako the good idea is a bunch of European aristocrats on a hunting trip in the Wild West falling foul of marauding Apaches and the great cast is headed by Sean Connery, Brigitte Bardot, Stephen Boyd, Honor Blackman, Peter van Eyck, Woody Strode, Eric Sykes (yes, Eric Sykes), Jack Hawkins and the voice of Charles Gray. (The all-but-forgotten Hans de Vries who was briefly a frontrunner to replace Connery as James Bond also turns up in a bit part). But you don't need me to tell you that, you've seen it on telly a hundred times, but at least the extras-free DVD releases from Optimum and, in the US, Anchor Bay and MGM/UA are letterboxed in the original 2.35:1 ratio.
It's not the only British Western - others include Hannie Caulder and the undervalued Eagle's Wing - but the presence of Connery and many of the backstage team from the Bond films ensures it's the best known. Despite being based on a novel by Louis L'Amour it veers more towards a continental approach than a classic American Western, though director Edward Dmytryk rarely summons up much enthuiasm for it, rendering much of it workmanlike. It's only in the torture and demise of one of the female characters that he seems prepared to push the material, with the usual action as Connery's guide reluctantly escorting the survivors to safety never quite as exciting as it could be. Still, nostalgia helps paper over some of the rough spots and Jim Dale's lyrics to the title song are memorable.