I Saw A Film!
Lee Van Cleef is a ferryman in a tiny Colorado village, devoted to his hand-built river-crossing creation (he saw a fence, says he, and knocked it down), building his sweaty muscles in his own version of a continuous crossfit exercise (it’s the most “gun” Van Cleef has ever shown), and occasionally threatening children. Causing him much grief, is Remy, played by the excellent Warren Oates, who just knocked off a bank with his gang of banditos and are in need of getting across the river. However, the ferryman has other ideas, and he transports the whole town to the other side to wait out the lawless bandits, creating a kind of stand-off neither side can quite get the upper hand on. Of course, the clock is ticking for Remy and his gang of outlaws, and so they attempt a couple of outrageous acts to turn the tide.
There is also Forrest Tucker as Mountain Phil, a friendly, though somewhat murderous advisor who is a face I grew up with and entirely forgot about until watching this film. He was in piles of westerns and a regular on many old televisions shows, but most easily recognized by me as the Sarge on F-Troop a terribly silly show (seemingly based on the Go-Go Gophers) with Larry Storch as comic partnership and terrible Native American hijinks. But this is neither here nor there, when you choose to stick such a face in your otherwise dark film, you have to have certain expectations from audience reactions.
Remy seems to lose his mind a bit, and at one point decides to shoot the river, which immediately reminded me that the great Persian King Xerxes (according to our first real historian Herodotus) had the Hellespont whipped for it’s misbehavior (and if I remember right shackles thrown into it to remind it of Xerxes power!). Remy doesn’t throw any shackles in and loses his one chance at torturing a captured pal of the other team. They pull down the frame of a church being built and create two small barges of their own to attack with. What can our heroes do? Well you’ll have to watch to find out!
For Free on Prime with some other excellent van Cleef fun.