Wednesday, 21 August 2013

No.204 : White Comanche

White Comanche at the IMDb
William Shatner stars in this risible 1967 western playing the role of twins - one cowboy and one Indian. Using the classic theme of duality, one is good while one is bad with Shatner showing his range as being totally wooden as both.

We first meet Shatner as cowboy Johnny Moon, resplendent in double denim. His expert horsemanship is cut short when he’s grabbed by a lynching gang and he only just escapes. Meanwhile the Indian Shatner, Notah,  is whooping it up and attacking stagecoaches. He’s high on the peyote and kills indiscriminately, saving only the lovely Rosanna Yanni for some ravishing.

The Shatners meet at the Indian camp with cowboy Shatner telling his brother he’s tired of being blamed for his crimes. A busybody squaw stops a shootout and the Shatners agree to meet for a showdown in a nearby town in four day’s time.

Cowboy Shatner heads into town but once again his brother’s reputation gets him into trouble. The local villain tries to hire his gun while Joseph Cotten’s sheriff tries to warn him off. After an overlong saloon fight the lady fresh from the ravishing tries to kill our hero. Happily the misunderstanding is soon explained and Rosanna is hanging about Shatner’s bedroom in no time flat.

With the showdown imminent some space is padded by a low rent gunfight complete with people slowly tipping themselves over balconies and slapping ketchup on their bodies. The bad guy is trying to take over the town you see, with only Cotton, Shatner and the mayor ready to take arms against them. Not so much ‘High Noon’ as ‘Low Goon’. Apologies for that.

With the town secure for now Indian Shatner raises the Comanche nation to attack the town. They are indifferent to the muffin top spewing over the top of his jeans and after wiping out some miners the showdown is on. But wait! Some Indians aren’t in agreement with the ‘slaughter everyone’ policy and we can only hope that the brothers and peoples of all nations can learn to live in peace and harmony.

This film is so bad that it defies any criticism. It’s pious and self important while offering nothing in the way of social commentary or insight. Shatner sucks in both roles and they don’t even bother changing his haircut when he’s playing the Indian. They also don’t bother with split screens so the pairs’ meetings are always a flurry of cut shots or of obvious body double.

Shatner is the worst but the acting is uniformly  awful with the mayor possibly the worst bit part actor I’ve seen. Cotten is OK as the sheriff but you don’t buy his homily wisdom or bravery in the face of insurmountable odds.

The film was shot in Spain and it shows in the green valleys and lack of mountainous terrain. The sets and costumes are also poor with Indian Shatner parading about bare chested in jeans much of the time and possibly wearing the same jeans as the cowboy. The soundtrack sounds like it has been lifted from a porno with totally inappropriate jazzy sequences serving only to keep the audience awake.

Some will get a few laughs at this dreadful production but for the rest of us it’s a complete waste of time.

Best Bit : Shatner on Shatner Action  6/23

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