Aka: The Valdez Horses
Director(s): John Sturges, Duilio Coletti
Chino Valdez is a lone horse breeder. This is partly by choice and partly because he is a so called half-breed. He’s unwelcomed almost wherever he goes. He has a few sanctuaries though; one is with the Indians where he spent a lot of time. He knows the way of nature and he’s a master horseman. One day a youngster named Jamie comes to him looking for work and a roof over his head. Chino tells him to keep looking elsewhere and that he has no need for ant help, he can manage on his own. But some way the two starts to like each other, almost like father and son. Chinos arch enemy – a mighty ranch owner which goes out of his way to make Chinos life miserable has a sister, Catherine. She plans to buy a Valdez horse from Chino and they end up falling in love with each other, something that is not easily forgiven by the brother who will stop at nothing to keep the two apart.
This edition has a pretty poor transfer of the film. I don’t know which the best to have is, but I figure that we’re never going to see a really good BD of this film. That’s a shame really since it has a lot of quality scenes in it! I’m not generally too fond of westerns even if I fancy a few of them of course, mainly the Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns. European westerns are so superior to their American equivalents in my mind. This isn’t any film that comes up to the dirty standards of Leone but it’s still rather non-glorified when it comes to the violence and the heroism. It’s more realistic so to speak. I would have liked to call it non-romanticized but since there’s clearly an important love story to be told here I can’t really do that!
In fact, towards the end I even cry a few tears when… No, I won’t tell you what happens, but it’s quite emotional for me I can tell you! Most of the film is about injustice and racist bullshit. Chino seems to get into trouble most of the time, but I figure that it isn’t his fault. Yet he gets to take the blame with the law. I figure that this is because of the racist bullshit the film tries to tell. As far as I am concerned they try to show us just how stupid racism really is. I bet the color of our blood is the same if we’re red, yellow, white, black or blue. I bet our organs look the same too! And I bet that out feelings are the same!
Charles Bronson does the part as the half-breed great! He’s just as masculine as we’re used to see him! He might have the looks to suit a Mexican half-breed too but I think it’s mainly acting skills! Nothing will break him and the degradation is everyday life for him. Yet he can’t take it! He absolutely refuses to let them break him! His integrity is enormous! But what did you expect me to write? After all this is The Shrine…
Jill Ireland, Charles Bronsons real life wife, plays the supporting part of Catherine. You can tell that there are some real emotions going on, absolutely stunning casting! But of course, as we all know, this was neither the first nor the last time them played in the same movie!
So…we’re about to come to the bottom line here. Is this a good film? Yes! I like it a lot! Bronson once again plays the character that will not break. He would rather stand up for his cause and die trying that to give up! Or will he?