The Spikes Gang

SPIKES-GANG--4-

THE SPIKES GANG  was swept into the critical and box-office dustbin in 1974, eking only $1,870,000 out of die-hard western and/or Lee Marvin fans.  Lately, it’s being rediscovered, if as not exactly a gem, at least an agate deserving of notice.  Small-scaled revisionist effort, filmed in Spain like so many other cheapies of the day, directed by prolific, proficient Richard Fleischer on the downslope of his output, it gives the also sliding Lee Marvin one of his better late-career turns.leec-1

protectedimage

Alternately cynical and reflective, brusque and helpful–and finally purely deadly, veteran robber Spikes takes three youthful, adventure-keen farm boys under his purring, perilous wing, with payoffs not quite what the naive kids envision.

Played by up & comers Gary Grimes, Ron Howard and Charles Martin Smith, with old-pros Arthur Hunnicutt and Noah Beery for flavor, the script lets the lads down by not developing their characters beyond letting them do much besides react off Marvin’s calm experience and the greater depth allowed his role.  The camera work, and production stinting hurt, giving it a choppy TV look.  But the weathered Marvin holds, and the climactic gunfight is a sudden doozy, a little shocker. 96 minutes.

tsg3

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s