’MONTE WALSH’, 1970, directed by William A. Fraker
I feel I owe it, to this beautiful slice of tumbleweed cinema, to say how great it really is. It has many positives, and few, if any, negatives - it really depends on how an individual defines the film in relation to the ‘West’ that they have grown up with on the silver screen.
We start with two ageing cowboys, the legends that are Lee Marvin and Jack Palance, coming to the end of days…they know that their days are coming to a close, and that being put out to pasture is not an option. Times are changing…and it is the beginning of the end for folk who believed that the end would never come in their lifetime.
In this respect, ‘Monte Walsh’ is not only a film, but also a testament to history…the eradication of an american tradition…the true, undiluted ‘Cowboy’, who was forced to give way to ‘progress’.
In this respect, ‘Monte Walsh’ has etched posterity and nostalgia firmly in the memory.
Both characters, are played to perfection by Marvin and Palance, ably accompanied by the late Mitchell Ryan, in his first starring role.
It is the tale of a ‘dying West’…and it left up to the viewer how they define the term ‘legend’.
To conclude: I regard ‘Monte Walsh’ as an ‘End of Days’ Western…and one that attempted to portray the shit, abandonment and hardship involved in being left to cope with an ever-intrusive ‘modern society’.
Mention must be made of the superlative score by the legendary John Barry…as always, a delight.
All in all, a beautiful, truthful, sincere, tragic and poignant film that deserves more accolades than it has received…Hopefully, ‘the good times will be coming’ when it receives the admiration that it deserves…
I really hope that others will discover this diamond in the rough…