HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Train Robbers, The Duke's loot
Year: 1973
Director: Burt Kennedy
Stars: John Wayne, Ann-Margret, Rod Taylor, Ben Johnson, Christopher George, Bobby Vinton, Jerry Gatlinas, Ricardo Montalban
Genre: WesternBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Looking for something useful to do, ageing Union army veteran Lane (John Wayne) gathers his buddies Grady (Rod Taylor) and Jesse (Ben Johnson) to accompany train robber's widow Mrs. Lowe (Ann-Margret) on an adventure to retrieve her late husband's gold. Dogging their path are not only the dead man's gang but an assortment of ruthless cutthroats and gunmen determined to get their hands on the loot. It falls to seasoned cowpoke Lane to use all his resourcefulness to keep the group alive, even as the presence of a mysterious cigar-chomping stranger (Ricardo Montalban) dogging their every move suggests there is more going on than meets the eye.

Too often dismissed as one of those late career films where John Wayne was merely going through the motions, The Train Robbers is actually one of the iconic western star’s better Seventies vehicles. Certainly more so than Andrew V. McLaglen's routine Cahill, U.S. Marshall released the same year. Though it lacks the depth and lyricism found in Wayne's earlier The Cowboys (1972) and later The Shootist (1976), The Train Robbers benefits from the wit and panache inherent in the script and direction of underrated western hand Burt Kennedy; here reuniting with Wayne after their previous wild west caper The War Wagon (1967). Kennedy layers his rollicking action-comedy script with disarming ruminations about growing old and seeking second chances. Whether it is Wayne's tough but fair-minded Lane, Rod Taylor's rascally Grady or ultimately even Ann-Margret's enigmatic widow, all of these characters are looking for their second wind. The gold is merely a means to achieve that end. Sharing the adventure reawakens a sense of purpose in ageing cowboys Lane, Jesse and Grady. Meanwhile riding alongside a man as morally upright and capable as Lane gives new companions Calhoun (Christopher George, here an ally after opposing the Duke in El Dorado (1967) though seemingly cast younger than he actually was) and Ben (Blue Velvet crooner Bobby Vinton in his second role in a John Wayne film after being shot to pieces in Big Jake (1971)) something to believe in. By the movie's twist ending everybody seems revitalized and ready for the next ride.

What The Train Robbers does lack though is a strong villain. Or indeed any characterized villain. What we get instead are an amorphous collective of hired guns viewed from afar but a menacing presence nonetheless. Influenced by the presentation of the posse pursuing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) the nameless mob has been interpreted by some fans as a quasi-mythic manifestation of every cinematic antagonist that ever drew down on the redoubtable Duke. Literally the ghosts of his past. Of course others might feel such a reading grants the film a sophistication it does not really have. Nevertheless as with a lot of Wayne's Seventies output the star brings with him the weight of his past roles in a manner that bolsters his stature here. While Wayne remains the primary draw the supporting cast are an amiable bunch with Taylor essaying the kind of lovable rogue Dean Martin usually played and Ben Johnson basically playing Ben Johnson. By this point all of his sidekick roles in John Wayne movies were all the same. Ann-Margret proves a worthy sparring partner for the Duke bringing the right mix of vulnerability and steely-eyed determination. The celebrated sex symbol was a trooper simply for showing up here. Only a few months prior she suffered a near fatal fall that left her with facial injuries and severe pain. The film flirts with a May-December romance that Wayne gently, amusingly rebukes when he tells Ann-Margret: "I’ve got saddle-bags older than you."


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 296 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
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
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: