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.
Bat/1968/113m/WS 2.35/PS 1.33
007 saddles up next to sex symbol Brigitte ©Anchor
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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