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THE 6-MOVIE MOST WANTED WESTERNS

                   

For Hicksflicks.com, Sept. 6, 2013

If you have a fan of Westerns in your sphere, here's a collection of six reissued titles from Sony, some of them excellent, priced at a measly $14.99 (closer to $10 at most outlets). Listed here in the order they are shown on the box cover.

"Geronimo: An American Legend" (1993, PG-13) is not really the story of the Apache chief (Wes Studi) so much as the cavalry's attempts to capture him, focusing on one of the officers (miscast Jason Patric) and narrated by a junior officer (Matt Damon). Studi and Robert Duvall, as a scout, take acting honors, but all the supporting players are good, including Gene Hackman as Gen. Crook. And southern Utah provides many of the stunning backdrops.

"Major Dundee"(1965, PG-13) stars Charlton Heston in one of his best roles as a cavalry officer leading his troops into Mexico in search of marauding Apaches. Director Sam Peckinpah's battles with the studio over this film are legendary and it received mediocre reviews in 1965, but the restored version on DVD has been highly praised. Co-stars include Richard Harris, Jim Hutton, James Coburn, Ben Johnson and Slim Pickens.

"The Missing" (2003, R) is an exciting thriller directed by Ron Howard, with Cate Blanchett as the mother of a girl (Evan Rachel Wood) kidnapped by Indians and taken across the Mexican border. When the cavalry declines to help she calls on her estranged father (Tommy Lee Jones) to help track her down. Aaron Eckhart and Val Kilmer co-star.

"The Professionals" (1966, PG-13) is a sort of Western "Dirty Dozen" ("Dirty Four," here) as Lee Marvin leads a crew (Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Woody Strode) into Mexico to rescue the wife (Clauda Cardinale) of a wealthy rancher (Ralph Bellamy) from a notorious outlaw (Jack Palance). Great cast makes the most of this action-filled yarn, which is also loaded with funny one-liners.

"The Quick and the Dead" (1995, R) is the only clunker here, despite a stellar cast. Director Sam Raimi ("Spider-Man") employs style over substance with overblown camera tricks that undermine his satire of the Old West in a story about a shooting competition that attracts the a wide range of disparate characters, led by a female gunslinger (Sharon Stone). Leonardo DiCaprio, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe and Gary Sinise are among the co-stars.

"Silverado" (1985, PG-13) is, arguably, the best "recent" western, directed and co-written by Lawrence Kasdan with an infectious joy, and loaded with fascinating characters, fast-paced action and hilarious comedy, delivered perfectly by a hand-picked cast, with Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover, Brian Dennehy, Rosanna Arquette, John Cleese, Jeff Goldblum and Linda Hunt leading the pack.