100 Rifles

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100 RIFLES is a dud 1969 western, set below the border around 20th-century turn, with a trio of good guys leading the Yaqui Indians against their Federale oppressors.  The movie drew a blizzard of publicity, using star Raquel Welch’s ‘shower scene’ and some then-controversial love tussles with Jim Brown, but neither steamed-up event did anything to help the payoff,  (though it did recover its $3,920,000 budget by grossing $10,000,000). The third hero is Burt Reynolds, with a big hat and a breezy attitude that carried him through this turkey, while poking fun at it in the trades.  Burt & Raquel and Raquel & Jim did not get along: she managed that with many of the people she worked with. Then again, considering Brown’s rep with women, maybe she didn’t feel like being friendly enough to get roughed up.

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Choppy, overlong at 110 minutes, with dispirited direction by Tom Gries, poorly co-written by the director with Clair Huffaker.  Filmed in Spain, at least it boasts loads of action, well handled by second-unit director Chuck Roberson, John Wayne’s longtime stunt double.  Jerry Goldsmith delivers a suitably Latin score.  All the gunfire and stunts are empty noise, when saddled with the lousy acting by a posing Welch and a stone-faced Brown, both bested by Burt as ‘Yaqui Joe’.  With Fernando Lamas, Dan O’Herlihy and Eric Braeden (Hans Gudegast).

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