Joe Kidd (1972)

Joe Kidd (1972), directed by John Sturges.

Joe can reduce his jail time by guiding a hunt for a pesky Mexican land reformer. First he refuses, then agrees, then wishes he hadn't, then has to kill all of the killers. Which we don't mind: they are unlovely goons, although sometimes showing wit and tough-guy character.

Now that I've read more Elmore Leonard I see his touch in this story and like it better than before. The community of lawmen and bad-men, the gun-thugs and their ways, and his sympathy for the poor and the underdog.

That works best in the first half; in the second it turns into a more improbable action picture, as when he runs the train through the saloon. I'm also not sure why hunted man Luis Chama agrees to come back for trial. It seems brave but naive; does he have any reason to trust the system?

Lalo Schifrin score.

Available on Blu-ray.