HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
   
 
Newest Articles
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
   
 
  Man in the Wilderness Thrive And Survive
Year: 1971
Director: Richard C. Sarafian
Stars: Richard Harris, John Huston, Henry Wilcoxon, Percy Herbert, Dennis Waterman, Prunella Ransome, Sheila Raynor, Norman Rossington, James Doohan, Bryan Marshall, Ben Carruthers, Robert Russell, John Bindon, Bruce M. Fischer, Dean Selmier, Judith Furse
Genre: WesternBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1820 and the place is the far reaches of the North American continent, where the white man has not made so much progress in colonisation. There are fur trappers and gold prospectors there, however, and a group of the former has been led by Captain Henry (John Huston), who insists on taking his ship across land, pulled by mules, so they can have a vessel to sail down the river when they reach it, on the way to civilisation and a small fortune they can sell the pelts for. However, along the way Henry's most reliable man, Zachary Bass (Richard Harris), has struck out briefly on his own when suddenly he is attacked by a large bear, and it looks as if he will not survive...

You may be aware of this story from the account presented in the Oscar-winning film The Revenant, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio, one of many versions of the true story that have been crafted in book and other forms down the centuries. The original tale was of Hugh Glass, a mountain man whose hardiest of constitutions saw to it that he survived a terrible ordeal by dragging himself - with a broken leg - across hundreds of miles of rough terrain to safety after nearly being mauled to death by a bear. His incredible feat of survival was recorded at the time, and has gone on to inspire all sorts of stories of endurance: this in particular was partly drawn from his experiences.

Though not completely, apparently so the producers did not have to pay royalties to the author of the book they had adapted the script from, a bit of a bad show that they were forced to settle for out of court with him at a later date. Setting that to one side (and also Harris's bad behaviour on the shoot, he was well into his hellraising stage by that point), what was on offer was a survival yarn obviously following on from its star's big hit A Man Called Horse from the previous year, with which this shared some similarities, largely in the depiction of gruelling physical pain to be overcome by sheer grit and determination rather than intellectually out-thinking whatever the problems were.

Bass is a man who runs on instinct, and though he doesn't do a whole lot of running here, what with the bad leg and all, his oneness with Mother Nature serves him well, not because she is benevolent, but because she demands so much from him, from everyone here, really, you have to respect her else she will see to it that you do not last. Therefore after being patched up by Henry's men, it is clear to them that he will die soon so they eventually abandon him, the two left (Percy Herbert and Dennis Waterman) fleeing when fearsome natives appear and strike the terror of self-preservation into their hearts. Yet the thing is, Bass is not dead, and in fact he's on the road to recovery, which explains why actors like Harris and DiCaprio are attracted to this role, for it offers the opportunity to wallow in suffering for their art.

The editing switched back and forth between the initially barely conscious Bass, and Henry on his ship as he mused that the man they left behind may still be alive, and worse than that may be intent on seeking revenge. When the Captain considers that this man is one of the toughest he ever met (another attraction for a star to play him), then if he does make it back to them he may not be in the sunniest of dispositions, which builds up the final confrontation for us to expect violence. Though there was a bloodthirsty finale, it was not quite what you might have anticipated, albeit the presence of the native tribes creating menace along the way (Bass witnesses an attack on a rival group by fearsome warriors) may have alerted you to the way this was heading. As with The Revenant, there was a sense of tactility to the drama, Richard C. Sarafian (fresh off Vanishing Point) evidently having a very specific vision as to how he wanted it to come across, which succeeded on those terms, yet was testing to watch purely because of those methods. Music by Johnny Harris.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1018 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Richard C. Sarafian  (1925 - 2013)

American director and actor who worked as a TV director until the late 60s, when he turned his hand to atmospheric films like the haunting British drama Run Wild, Run Free, the existential road movie Vanishing Point and the Burt Reynolds western The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing. Less successful were the Sean Connery vehicle The Next Man and Sunburn, with Farrah Fawcett. As an actor can be spotted more recently in films like Bulworth, Blue Streak and The Crossing Guard.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: