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High Plains Drifter (1973)

Duration1h 45m
RatingsUK: 18, USA: R, Denmark: 15 
Source of storyAn original screenplay – but another outing for the man with no name.
DirectorClint Eastwood
Writers/ScriptErnest Tidyman, Dean Riesner
StarringClint Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Marianna Hill, Walter Barnes, Billy Curtis, Geoffrey Lewis,  
RatingsIMDb: 7.5/10 by 53,656 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 93% by 27 reviewers. Review2view: 7.8/10.

Elevator Pitch: The small town of Lago is apprehensive at the possible return of three gunmen who are to be released from jail. Then a man arrives who quickly takes control of events. He shoots some men who challenge him, and rapes a woman who argues with him. However, he is hired by the townsfolk to provide protection. In return they give him freedom to do whatever he wants. His requirements become more and more extreme but when alone he has hallucinations of a man being whipped to death in the main street with the people looking on. The townsfolk are recruited to be defenders, but are poor shots. As the three gunmen approach how will it all end?

Content: No nudity, but some sex including one rape. A lot of drinking and smoking. The stranger shoots some men who want to take him on. The townspeople meet secretly and later in the film we find out that they have arranged for their marshal to be killed to prevent him from shutting down the mine in which the town depends. The stranger  continues to humiliate the townspeople at every opportunity. The three villainous gunmen are released from prison and in order to get horses quickly shoot three guys they find in the woods. The stranger finds them and exchanges gunfire with them at one point.

A View: This may be the most obscure outing of the man with no name, apparently the original script suggests that he is the marshal’s brother. But Clint Eastwood preferred the supernatural inference. As soon as we meet the stranger we have a good idea how it will all end, but how are we going to get there. He gets the townspeople to literally paint the town red. A good joke. If you have never seen a man with no name film this is a fine start. Otherwise, it’s more of the same but worth a watch. 

I’m letting my programme decide what other westerns you should watch. Or you could check out my podcast. Westerns Worth a Watch

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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