Lawman (DVD)

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Lawman (DVD)

While in a neighbouring town, some drunken locals from Sheriff Maddox' domain accidentally kill a man. So the stern, unbending Maddox (Burt Lancaster)...

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Review of "Lawman (DVD)"

published 28/08/2007 | tayloa22
Member since : 18/12/2005
Reviews : 83
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About me :
I was here but now i'm gone! Also post on Dooyoo as BIKE-DUDE.
Super
Pro A movie ahead of it's time
Cons None
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"Lancaster plays Judge Dredd, Western style."

I'm going into town to face Maddox

I'm going into town to face Maddox

LAWMAN- A Review By Addy

"He gave the West justice right up to its neck…then rammed more down its throat."


This is a deep action packed Western that in my opinion is aimed directly at adults due to understand the complexities of the characters. Do not let the fact this movie came out in 1971 deter you because this is no Randolph Scott style dandy Western movie. This film comes with a 15 certification, and this is probably largely due to the blood content. Scenes have people shot in the chest, culminating in a dispersal of blood shooting into the air. One other scene see's a guy sitting on the floor placing a 45 colt under his jaw and squeezing the trigger. The result of this is crimson blood gushing out and saturating his shirt. The gunfights may be a tad graphic but I believe it is in keeping with the whole intension of the film in creating a mature, gritty, realistic, authentic Western. Also may I stress that whilst there is blood etc it is not what I would consider as gratuitous, but it is certainly at a believable level.

Directed by: Michael Winner
Produced by: Michael Winner
Written by: Gerald Wilson
Music by: Jerry Fielding
Release date: March 11, 1971

So we have U.S Marshal, Jered Maddox played by Burt Lancaster {Gunfight at the O.K Corral, Tough Guys, both co-starring Kirk Douglas} Maddox town of Bannock is quiet town full of law abiding people since he made it this way. However, one day whilst away from town pursuing an outlaw, in rides Vincent Bronson played by Lee J. Cobb, and his band of Cowboys fresh of the trail. These cowboys get a little worse for wear on liquor and start to shoot up the town for fun, {why they did not settle for playing tiddlywinks is beyond me}. Unfortunately during this wild spree an innocent civilian is shot and killed.

A while later, and back on Bronson's ranch, they get visited by their local town sheriff called Cotton Ryan played by Robert Ryan who is from the local town of Sabbath. He tells Bronson that Maddox is in town with several warrants for Corman who Bronson considers his right hand man and a few of his cowboys by the names of Vernon Adams, Choctaw Lee, Jack Dekker, Harvey Stenbaugh and Hurd Price. Ryan tells Bronson that Maddox's message that if they come peaceful and turn themselves in they will get a fair trial, if not he is coming for them! All Maddox wants to do is take them back to face trial but Bronson and the boys have other ideas. Sheriff Cotton Ryan won't get involved because he is bought and paid for by Vincent Bronson, and ironically Bronson believes if you throw money at any problem it goes away. Cotton tries to convey that Maddox is different to most folk, but Bronson sends back the message he will make recompense with the dead man's family financially, as well as give the town and Maddox some cash too.

But the stoic Maddox is not persuaded for this is a man, that lives, eats, breathes the law, and that law and justice course through his veins. Against the wishes of Bronson one of his cowboys arrives in town for a showdown with Maddox. The cowboy is good, but Maddox is a cold professional killer, he does this for a living. Most cowboys use their pistol to shoot rattlesnake, dispatch a sick horse, or chase off some renegade Indians, possibly. Maddox is forced to gun him down, and finally the chance for a peaceful settlement is squandered.
One by one he systematically hunts most of them down, and has no aversion to gunning them down if need be. Ironically, Maddox's one time lover is also in the movie as the wife to one of the cowboys that Maddox is hunting. Seems although he loved this woman, he loved the law more. Old feelings are rekindled as she beds him Maddox and tries to reason with him to just walk away since too many lives have been lost already. Eventually even the town turns on Maddox, and a bunch of shop keepers etc form a lynch mob and descend on the Saloon, "Sure you could all get me in a rush" says Maddox, "but I can take down 3 or 4 of you before you can get to me, who wants to die first?"

Eventually after much killing and a barrel load of imploring to soul search, Maddox decides to walk away, but for Bronson it's just too late. The inevitable showdown is a real corker. After being almost shot in the back by one of Bronson's men whilst leaving town, Maddox returns with an even more intense brutality. He squares off in the street completely outnumbered be he is not phased. The scene is set for a gun battle that is steaming hot, and it is one of the finest shoot-outs in a Western movie.

Conclusion

The real beauty of the film is the whole psychology of it and the blur between the distinctions of good and bad. The wanted men are not really bad men although some are compelled to stupid actions that cost them their lives. Certainly they never meant to kill anyone initially it was a genuine accident and Bronson tries everything in vain to make recompense. The real scintillating interest for me was Maddox and the ambiguity surrounding his murky past that turned a once bonny baby into an adult that's cold, calculating, rigid impassive man killer. There is also the question of how far can one go in the name of justice including murder. Just when you empathise with Maddox and the necessity for justice he goes that little bit further into a realm of somewhere wholly not too pleasant. The film is beautifully crafted with script, camera work and acting that brings a harsh reality to the film and shows a unique angle to humanity and society that can leave a bad taste in the mouth and a contempt for these aspects of life. There are so many questions of morality that are raised by the movie and everyone will have their own unique perspective on who is right or who is wrong and where should one draw the line but it will most definitely give you food for thought. The film I surmise shows features of humanity that we know exist but don't really wish to acknowledge that they do.


Forget DVD extras, it is more a question of what extras? This film can be picked up for dirt cheap and irrespective of the year of release, this film is just as hearty, and hardcore as a new release. One other notable is seeing John Walton, from the Walton's play a cowardly back shooter, The film also stars classy actor Robert Duvall {Open Range, Joe Kidd, Apocalypse Now} The interesting thing about this film is seeing the effect Maddox has when he descends on the town. Also there is a young man who works for Bronson that wants to be a great gunfighter. Maddox eventually gets through to him with pep talks and makes him realise it's not what it seems, it's not a life of glory!


Well worth watching!!!!

Thanks for reading/rating........Addy

© July 2008

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Comments on this review

  • danielclark691 published 12/04/2017
    good
  • headcase44 published 29/05/2008
    Very good review...Not for me though...J.
  • in2deep published 20/05/2008
    could be a fair movie
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Product Information : Lawman (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

While in a neighbouring town, some drunken locals from Sheriff Maddox' domain accidentally kill a man. So the stern, unbending Maddox (Burt Lancaster) goes there to arrest the missing men, a task that proves much harder than he expected, thanks to his rude and arrogant manner. The residents quickly view him as an enemy, and demand that he leave. As a result, town boss Vincent Bronson (Cobb) the fugitives boss, sends one henchman after another to kill Maddox. Michael Winner directs.

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