Monte Walsh (1970)

Monte Walsh (1970), directed by William A. Fraker.


Nobody gets to be a cowboy forever.

An elegy to the cowboy. The jobs are vanishing and after a hard winter kills the cattle and closes the ranches, we have just the rag-tag few remaining, just for a short while.

They're poor and hard-working, but more or less happy. The setup is often funny with lots of practical jokes and recreational brawling. But without work some will turn to rustling and bank robbery, some to killing. It becomes melancholy and tragic.

Monte is very fond of a decent French prostitute, the great Jeanne Moreau. He calls her "Countess". Do they have a chance? It's hard. He's not suited to other work and too obstinately proud to even try.

I've never seen Lee Marvin give a bad performance. As his partner Jack Palance has a more easy-going role than is usual for him, although only a fool would push him too far.

Much of a town is demolished in a wild bronco-riding scene.

John Barry score, more intense than usual for westerns at the climax. Mama Cass sings the theme song. Remade for TV with Tom Selleck.

This has been in print on DVD for a long time, but Netflix only recently added it, a sign they are making some attempts to improve the disc catalog after long neglect. Later: gone again.

Still later: available on Blu-ray, but not from Netflix.