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Pale Rider (1985)


Duration 1h 55m Rating (UK) 15
Source of story An original screenplay
Director Clint Eastwood
Writers/Script Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack
Starring Clint Eastwood, Michael Moriarty, Carrie Snodgress, Chris Penn, Richard Dysart, Sydney Penny, Richard Kiel

Elevator Pitch: When a gold prospector’s camp in the hills of California is attacked by vigilantes working for a banker, who is strip mining the hillsides a young woman, the daughter of a widow, prays for salvation. Possibly co-incidentally a man who seems to be a preacher rides into the camp, and comes to their aide, subduing the banker’s enforcers making the prospectors determined to fight and making the hearts of their women flutter. But professional gunfighters have been called in. How will it pan out?

Content. Scenes in the prospector’s camp with mayhem as a result of the attack by the banker’s enforcers, various confrontations between the preacher and men who have been sent to deal with him, visits to the very primitive town in the vicinity of the camp by prospectors and the preacher, meaningful exchanges between the preacher, the young woman and her mother as well. A number of violent exchanges with pickaxe handles, sledge hammers, dynamite and hand guns. Possible sex behind closed doors.

A View. This film was well liked by the critics, particularly Roger Ebert who praised the structure and the technique used by the director to imply who or what the preacher might be. I particularly liked an exchange between the preacher and the daughter while they are alone. She says “I love you preacher”. What is he going to do? So if you liked the Man With No Name films this is essential viewing, see it before it disappears for ever. And if none of this makes any sense to you – since it is 34 years old – see it anyway.

Additional Info. The Pale Rider of the title is described in the Book of Revelations as Death, but what or who he is is left to us.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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