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United Kingdom 1979
Directed by
Anthony Harvey
104 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2 stars

Eagle's Wings

The British making a Western is like the French playing rock'n'roll - it just doesn't work. If The Singer Not The Song (1961), with Dirk Bogarde as the black leather-clad baddie was an incongruous but marvellously miscegenated film, it is difficult seeing what this film is even about as it interweaves a number of different characters in an elliptical narrative that seems to have its large themes in place but has left out all the detail (screenwriter John Briley went onto pen Gandhi with much better results). If Bogarde mades for a bizarre bad guy, then try Sam Waterston as an Indian. Yes, that's him in the dodgy wig and make-up playing the noble (?) savage fighting Martin Sheen over possession of a magnificent white stallion.

The photography by Billy Williams is stunning and reinforces the thematic dimension of the film but there's an inconsistently jaunty score by Marc Wilkinson that recalls the type of Westerns Hollywood made in the 1960s with someone like Burt Lancaster playing the Martin Sheen character (compare, for instance, Sydney Pollack's The Scalphunters). Director Harvey was editor for Dr Strangelove (1964) and is best known as the director of The Lion In Winter.




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