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Comanche Blanco Review (Lastcaress)

From The Spaghetti Western Database

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Thanks to those cheap box sets of Spags which many of us pick up - particularly when we're just starting to build our Spag DVD libraries - almost all of us will eventually encounter some fairly grim films to trawl through as we attempt to root out the gems. Try to see them as the scars of bitter experience; a necessary rite of passage. Sort-of like how you're not a proper fisherman, they say, until you've had a barbed hook through your finger (I don't entirely buy that, btw. Just be careful, for Christ's sake!). Anyway, one such "barbed hook" is White Comanche, a true kick to the Western ballbags which has caught plenty out, thanks to the lure of star William Shatner playing BOTH lead roles, no less! I mean, The Shat's in it. Twice! Double-Shat! How bad can it really be??

Well, as a western, it's ball-smackingly bad. It's not the central conceit - half-breed twin brothers each adopt opposing facets of their heritage, setting one against the other - which in itself is okay, and it isn't the wider plot which - whilst entirely plodding and unoriginal - is no more hairbrained than a bunch of Spags I've already enjoyed just fine (though it should be noted that this is a Spanish movie, not Italian). And it certainly isn't Joseph Cotten (The Hellbenders) who remains eminently watchable, even here in his role as the Sheriff. It's just badly made. The cameramen must have been blind drunk or something; camera doesn't stop shaking or missing its mark! The editing seems to have been entrusted to a lunatic with a pair of meat scissors. And what in fupping bumwrong is up with that score?!? Some sort of timpani-heavy jazz, man! Nnnnnnice! And - although this isn't the film's fault, per se - it doesn't help matters when the print is so washed out it's virtually black & white, as was the case with the copy I watched (see below this review), and the sound is filled to deafening levels with more cracks, jumps and muffles than a vinyl album that had been tied to a dog and kicked down the street before being played. If a modicum of care had been taken in producing the thing, it wouldn't have been too bad.

Of course, taking care in producing the thing would also include hiring a competent and credible choice as your leading man. The decision to hire Will. EE. Am. SHAT. Ner, the hammiest, gurningest, WHITEST man in all of human history to play half-Native American twins (particularly given that one of these twins is supposed to have massively embraced his Comanche heritage) was a fatal blow to a movie already on life-support. Half-Indian? The glare off of that white-oh-so-white chest nearly blew my telly up! I'm still seeing the afterimage, burned into my retinas! He must have fried like a chip-shop cod out in that Spanish sun. If I'd been there, I'd have been slapping him on the belly every ten minutes, setting off his sunburn. "OW!... My, SUN. Burn..." And what the hell was that accent? Seemed to veer indiscriminately 'twixt a sort-of deeply racist and stereotypical "Red Injun" impression and a similarly deeply racist and stereotypical "Ching Chong Chinaman". Wouldn't his Comanche "brethren" have taken one listen of that piss-taking voice and lopped his head clean off in righteous indignation? It's certainly what I wanted to do.

Still, it wasn't an entire bust. Although I thought it was a poor, poor western, I AM partial now and again to a sh*t movie. You know; The Creeping Terror, Rat Pfink a Boo-Boo, et cetera. Looking at White Comanche with my B-Movie hat on rather than my western hat on, I was happy to mine a few chuckles from it. Well, impossible NOT to really, whenever The Shat was in "Notah" mode (William Shatner playing a bloke called "No, ta!" Brilliant!).

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The review above was written with relation to the copy of "White Comanche" found in the Spaghetti Western 44 Movie Collection by Mill Creek Entertainment (buy it from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de)

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