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This review is from: High Plains Drifter [Blu-ray] [1973] [US Import] (Blu-ray)

A drifter (Clint Eastwood) rides out of the desert into the lawless, sin-ridden town of Lago. He makes a name for himself after a gunfight at the barber's when three thugs try to take him out and fail miserably.
Lago, a town of cowards, has a dark past, involving a man who was brutally whipped to death by a group of three gunfighters, the Carlin Brothers. The townsfolk double-crossed the Carlin Brothers, landing them in prison.
The three gunmen are to be released from prison, however, with a bloodthrist for vengeance that will lead them straight back to Lago. The townsfolk hire the drifter to help them against the men, but the drifter has his own sinister plans for Lago...

HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER is one of the best American-made westerns and the second movie Clint Eastwood directed. Personally I never cared much for The "Duke's" westerns, but preferred Eastwood's rougher and grittier portrayals of the Wild West. John Wayne, however wrote Eastwood an agry letter after the opening of HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, denouncing the movie for its violence and portrayal of the Old West. Eastwood's character is quite similar to the Man with no name he portrayed in Sergio Leone's Dollar Trilogy. Fortunately he remained true to the superior Italian Western style rather than the watered-down American westerns that were famous in the 50s and 60s.
The movie was a huge success nonetheless, being the sixth-highest grossing western of the 70s in the United States.
Eastwood delivers an impeccable performance in front and behind the camera. Perfectly paced and wonderfully shot on location of California and Nevada. Universal Pictures originally wanted Eastwood to shoot the film on the studio lot, but Eastwood decided against it.
The supporting cast does a great job as well, including Billy Curtis as Mordecai, Robert Donner, Marianna Hill and Stefan Gierasch.
Marshal Duncan is played by stuntman Buddy Van Horn, a long-time stunt coordinator for Clint Eastwood.
HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER was quite controversial in its day (and still is, remaining BPJM restricted in Germany as of 2014 and retaining its 18 Certificate in the UK), it is the first Eastwood film to feature a rape scene, and Eastwood's character IS the rapist. A man is sadistically whipped to death (the scene goes on for almost three minutes!), overall the finale is extremely dark and violent even by today's standards.
The movie has a very dark atmosphere and a great and eerie score to underline it.
If you have the stomach for it, go see it! It is definitely worth it, but HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Of Eastwood's Westerns my favorite is still THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, but HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER comes in second.

RATING: 9 / 10


Reviewed version: 2013 Universal 40th Anniversary Edition US Blu-ray
Feature running time: 105 mins. (uncut)
Rating: R (MPAA) / 18 (BBFC)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 / 16x9
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: English HoH and Spanish
Extras: Theatrical Trailer
Region: A, B, C (region free)

Picture: A
Audio: B
Extras: F
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Aug 2014 23:44:27 BDT
rbmusicman says:
Like you i love 'Clint's' movies, have all his westerns, except for his 'Rawhide' TV series
This one maybe not his best though i agree with your enthusiasm for 'Clint's films.
Great 'Clint' review 'Caligula'

Posted on 16 Aug 2014 00:22:37 BDT
Timelord007 says:
Clint Eastwood is a legend, even his average films are better than many others best films.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Aug 2014 21:59:08 BDT
Caligula II. says:
I totally agree, Timelord!

Thank you both for your comments!
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