Saturday, July 15, 2017

Take one down, pass it around

Some time back, I recorded 100 Rifles when it aired on FXM Retro. It's going to be on again tomorrow at 11:15 AM and again on Monday at 9:15 AM, so I figured that now would be a good time to watch it and do a full-length post on it. (The movie is also available on DVD and Blu-Ray.)

The movie starts off with a hanging: Sarita (Raquel Welch) sees her father being hanged by a representative of Gen. Verdugo (Fernando Lamas). Verdugo is the military commander of the Mexican state of Sonora circa 1912, and Sarita is part of the Yaqui people who don't like the Mexicans. Sarita's dad apparently got a rifle from the Mexican forces which was forbidden him, and that's enough to hang him for.

Cut to one of the big towns. Verdugo is there on a military visit, while watching from a hotel room is Joe Herrera (Burt Reynolds). Joe doesn't want to be seen, and for good reason. Into all this comes Lydecker (Jim Brown), who it turns out is looking for Herrera. That's because Herrera is wanted back in Arizona for robbing $6,000 from a bank. Lydecker is there to bring him back, claim the reward, and get a job with the police as a result. The Mexicans don't care for any of this, and are perfectly willing to kill both Herrera and Lydecker because of Herrera's motives for the bank robbery.

It turns out that Herrera is of mixed ancestry, having a father from Alabama and a mother who was Yaqui. Herrera claims to have spent the $6,000 on women and whiskey, but Verdugo knows that the money was really spent on obtaining rifles for the Yaqui so they can resist the federal government's depredations. That, of course, is highly illegal.

Rounding out the main cast are Dan O'Herlihy as a representative of the railroad, who really just wants the trains to keep running and doesn't care how that happens or who's running them, and Hans Gudegast as a German adviser to Verdugo, who thinks committing genocide is just fine and dandy.

Anyhow, Lydecker has no desire to stay in Mexico, except that circumstances force him to stay. Verdugo is going to execute him and Herrera together, but the two are saved by the Yaqui, and Lydecker reluctantly joins up with them because there is no other option. To make matters worse for him, the Yaqui want him to be their "general".

100 Rifles was actually made in Spain; I would have thought it was made in Mexico. It's well-enough made, although it's yet another movie that doesn't feel as if it's treading any new ground. Everybody does adequately, and the movie is entertainig, but it's also the sort of thing that I don't think is particularly memorable. Still, because it entertains it's more than worth a watch.

1 comment:

Wendell Ottley said...

Wait. Your telling me Raquel Welch, Burt Reynolds, and Jim Brown are all in a movie together? How have I not seen this at least five times? Have to hunt this one down.