Richard Harris / Cowboy – Major Dundee Part 1

7 Jan

Richard Harris / Cowboy:
Major Dundee / Part 1

“THE EPIC STORY OF THE GREAT SOUTH-WEST !”

Major Dundee Richard Harris

The year was 1965 and Spaghetti is high on the menu – Sergio Leone had released two Western Classics: A Fistful of Dollars’ and ‘For a Few Dollars More’ to massive successWesterns are IN … again.

But Sam Peckinpah and Richard Harris are in Mexico – not Spain. And Major Dundee is not a Spaghetti Western. It’s something entirely different …

Starring the great Charlton Heston, as Major Dundee, the movie has all the components for success: a good story, a great cast, and often brilliant Director. Except for one thing: that Director, it’s greatest asset is also it’s greatest liability: Sam Peckinpah. the self-destructive genius.

I won’t go into the specifics here – the anger – the angst – the infighting – the Editing – the boozing – the brawling – the brothelling.  It’s sad really. Because this should have been a great movie – Sam’s Masterpiece. And shows flashes of it – but falls – truncated – disjointed … unfinished. There was some grand schemes/themes behind this project. Unrealized. Sam was completely unable to keep himself under control. Incredibly, exact same scenario was repeated years later with Peckinpah’s ‘Pat Garrett and Billy Kid’ (1973) – another flawed project that was later completed/restored by others after he died.

For myself, knowing some of the history and background surrounding the film enhances my viewing. You see things that you would otherwise miss. But it’s not necessary. What truly is amazing is that anything eventually manifested at all. But somehow it did.

The original 1964 Trailer:

The 2005 Extended Edition Trailer:

Is it worth watching? Yes. At least, the 2005 Extended (restored?) Version is. You can see what it had going for it and what it could have been …
Heston and Harris are both great. And the support cast is outstanding.

Abbreviated Credits:

Major Dundee Columbia

Major Dundee Extended

Major Dundee Title

Major Dundee Charleton Heston

Major Dundee Charleton Heston 2

Major Dundee Richard Harris 2

Major Dundee Richard Harris 3

Major Dundee James Coburn

Major Dundee James Coburn 2

Major Dundee Senta Berger

Major Dundee Senta Berger 2

Major Dundee credits

Major Dundee Sam Peckinpah

Next: 

Richard Harris / Cowboy – Major Dundee Part 2

 

 

3 Responses to “Richard Harris / Cowboy – Major Dundee Part 1”

  1. Colin January 7, 2016 at 2:49 am #

    Yes, lots of good things to enjoy in the film as it stands, but tinged with disappointment too.
    Harris does fine work next to powerful presence of Heston – it’s memorable role for him.

    • jcalberta January 22, 2016 at 11:44 pm #

      It’s rather amazing really. Irishman Harris is completely UNintimidated by Heston or the fact that he has no background in Westerns. Somehow he just stepped in and pulled it off – equal to the task. Then went on to make several pretty good Westerns. Go figure.

      • Colin January 23, 2016 at 2:30 am #

        Yeah, very assured and credible work.

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