Anchor Bat/1968/113m/WS 2.35/PS 1.33
     Cowboys, Indians, Aristocrats, Immigrants; they are all players in Shalako. The widescreen Western doesnít have much of a story. In the mid-nineteenth century, the American frontier was a magnet for fortune seekers and thrill seekers alike. In Shalako, a hunting party of Aristocrats, led by a German count, is making their way through Apache country with all the requisite arrogance for foreigners trampling Indian land. To make matters worse, they are trespassing on Apache treaty land. The Army fear for the partyís safety when they hear about their whereabouts. Army Scout Shalako is sent to intercept the hunters and request they hunt in neutral territory.
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007 saddles up next to sex symbol Brigitte ©Anchor Bay

     Shalako appears to be one of those joint international productions hoping to produce a financial bonanza (sic) by harnessing multi-national star power. Sean Connery, on leave from breaking hearts as James Bond, plays the savvy Indian fighter Shalako with the same ease he brought to 007. Brigitte Bardot brings her blonde mane of hair and rides sidesaddle alongside Connery. The twosome fail to ignite many sparks but they are both pretty to look at. Jack Hawkins struggles through the role of a British aristocrat in financial disaster, Stephen Boyd sneers his way through villainy and Peter Van Eck defines Prussian arrogance as the hunting party leader.
     Donít come to this Western expecting much more than pretty scenery and pretty people. Veteran director Edward Dmytryk does a workmanlike job of moving the action along, but he canít extract more action and intelligence than the script provides. There are no vintage fights, the Indians are especially stiff and the love-making in tame.
     Let me clarify the F rating on this otherwise decent transfer of the 1972 Western Shalako. On three separate occasions my DVD hung up for a couple of seconds in a freeze then jerky jumps before continuing through the problem portions. There was no apparent dirt on the DVD and replaying these sections repeated the problems. My conclusion is that these were pressing defects and could well be on every disc of Shalako. Hence the F rating for transfer quality. Without the hang-up problems, Shalako would probably get a C+ quality rating. There are some scenes with soft images, but overall this is a clean DVD with good color reproduction. The sound is not exceptional. Dialogue from the international cast is clear enough. There is one major audio dropout while Peter Van Eck is speaking.






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