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USA 1965
Directed by
Monte Hellman
82 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Ride In The Whirlwind

Penned by Jack Nicholson who also stars, albeit credited below Cameron Mitchell, an actor who had a long career as bit player before his death in 1994 and who here plays Jack's older, more sanguine buddy, this low budget western that tells the story of three cowpokes who are mistaken for stagecoach robbers. It takes a low-key approach to its material but is surprisingly impressive.

Despite revelling in the laconically idiomatic dialogue typical of the Western genre and possessing a matter-of-fact approach to story-telling the film effectively creates an awareness of larger themes – to do with injustice, dashed hopes and the will to survive, in the frontier environment – whilst Robert Drasnin’s score and Gregory Sandor’s photography both contribute to the sense of melancholy fatalism that pervades the film, summed up well in what is so often a stock-standard genre scene by the badly wounded Vern (Mitchell) as he lies on the ground and tells a reluctant Wes (Nicholson) to leave him behind: “Don’t ya understand, ya gotta do it”. The film was made by AIP concurrently with another Hellman/Nicholson collaboration, The Shooting, which was released in 1967.




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