12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
“I spent £3000 on whiskey and women and the other half I wasted”,
This review is from: 100 Rifles [DVD] (DVD)
Lyedecker is an Arizona lawman who travels to a remote Mexican village looking for Yaqui Joe, a half-Native, half-white bank robber who has stolen $6,000 to buy 100 rifles for his Yaqui people who are being repressed by the government. The two however become friends and take on the Mexican army.
After directing the impressive western Will Penny director Tom Gries accepted the offer to direct an adaption of Robert MacLeod's 1966 novel The Californio. Just like in Will Penny he was able to asemble a stellar cast including Jim Brown, Burt Reynolds and Raquel Welch.
Jim Brown plays the tough lawman Lyedecker. Who just wants to get his man back to America as quickly as possible so he can start a new life and have himself a new career. He is perfectly cast and this is one of his best westerns (he others been the equally impressive El Condor and Take a Hard Ride then the decent Rio Conchos and the awful Kid Vengeance). His support includes Burt Reynolds as the funny Yaqui Joe. A man who drinks and whores around but still has a love for his people. When he is confronted by Lyedecker about the money he stole he amusingly states “I spent £3000 on whiskey and women and the other half I wasted”. The beautiful Raquel Welch is the freedom fighter who in a hard hitting opening sequence watches her father been hung and is forced to help him die, before she is raped.
I heard that Welch and Brown didn't get along during filming and it was Reynolds that was having to play referee during their fights. I think that this added extra tension between the characters which eventually leads to a sex scene (tame by today's standards) which was one of the first interracial scenes to be shown on film.
Tom Gries shows himself as a impressive director of action sequences. We get a big amount of battle sequences with train attacks, raids on forts and a ending where our heroes drive a train into a army barracks. We also get a couple well filmed slow motion sequences, the best been when four Indians attempt to run away from the Mexican soldiers before they are shot down.
Jerry Goldsmith composes a great score and I just wish he had made more westerns throughout his career.
Overall it is a action packed and enjoyable from start to finish. With this been film in Spain and me been a Spaghetti Western fan I noticed great Paella western actors Aldo Sambrell and Juan Manual Martin in small roles.