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Sunday, June 1, 2008

THE SHOOTING (1967)

Monte Hellman ’s insufferably pretentious chamber Western looks worse than it actually is in this smeary Madacy DVD edition. The attempt at enigmatic Antonioni stylings (with violent/dramatic flourishes in hostile desert terrain a la Stroheim) seems designed for budding cultists to essay, but cud is cud no matter how you chew. Warren Oates survives intact, but everyone else (Jack Nicholson included) tanks. Millie Perkins, loathsome in a loathsome part, ties with ‘Tippi’ Hedren for 'Most Irritating Voice' in film history. How this film rates serious critical attention while dozens of superior modestly-scaled Westerns by Budd Boetticher, Joseph Lewis & Anthony Mann await rediscovery is no small crime.

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