“In all the long, wrought out, back-breakin’, kidney-shakin’, bladder-bustin’ miles from here to Lizard, there’s not one spot of wet relief for man or beast.”
When robbed and left to die in the desert, an illiterate wanderer (Jason Robards) stumbles upon a spring which he proceeds to turn into a profitable way-station. Meanwhile, he falls for a feisty prostitute (Stella Stevens), receives assistance from a con-artist “preacher” (David Warner), and hopes to seek revenge on the men who abandoned him.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- David Warner Films
- Get Rich Quick
- Jason Robards Films
- Sam Peckinpah Films
- Stella Stevens Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary argues that this “simple, bawdy, lyrical film is one of [Sam] Peckinpah’s best” — but I disagree. While Robards is indeed “wonderful” (he alone makes the film worth watching), the story itself leaves much to be desired: after an inspired first half-hour or so — in which Hogue stakes his claim in town, and eyes a busty wench (Stevens) with hilariously unmitigated lust — the narrative devolves into slapstick, and it’s all downhill from there. Warner’s participation in Hogue’s venture is never clearly explained (his smooth-talking attempts to bed married women are irritating, not funny), and Stevens — while undeniably sexy (it’s easy to see why men would go gaga over her) — quickly loses sympathy the first time she throws a conniption fit; this is NOT how a slick business woman would react. Peckinpah’s use of both dated cinematic techniques (including sped-up running) and cloying flower-children songs throughout the soundtrack make matters worse. Jason Robards is really the only reason to sit through this disappointing sleeper.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Jason Robards as Cable Hogue
- Lucien Ballard’s fine cinematography
No, but it’s worth a look simply for Robards’ winning performance.