Tuesday, 12 March 2013

No.78 : The Rounders

The Rounders at the IMDb

Gentle cow poke action now as we check out this proto ‘Brokeback Mountain’.

Henry Fonda and Glenn Ford play a couple of ageing cowboy in what would have been the present day when this was made in 1965. The pair work at breaking wild horses and regularly have to postpone their plans and dreams as they inevitably piss away their earning at the saloon or on the ladies.

After breaking a couple of troublesome steeds, ranch owner Jim Love offers them a deal to round up any stray steers or horses for a tempting $7 a head. The guys agree and, after stopping in on their hooch supplier, head off to the hills to their romantic cabin.

The round up goes well and, despite a couple of mild run ins with other cowboys, their prospects look good. They have however rounded up all the fat and lazy strays and will need a fast horse to be able to rope all the lean and quick nags that remain. They have such a horse but it can’t be broken despite their repeated attempts. Winter passes in due course and although their Christmas party is ruined by a drunk horse they are soon ready to claim their cash.

The make a seemingly hefty $700 but as they head into town they have a brainwave - why fritter their cash as always? Why not risk it is a gambling scheme involving their wild horse? Along they way they pick up a couple of stranded strippers (the best kind!) and the plan is set. Will they find happiness or at least keep their cash and will the horse that has blighted their lives save the day?

I didn’t have this film down as a comedy at first as all the ‘laughs’ seemed to be people falling off horses, again and again. It does however gather pace and towards the end it’s like ‘Blazing Saddles’ with a big saloon fight and slide whistle bottom exposures.

The two leads work well together but there is no suggestion that they are in anyway attracted to each other and indeed woman are slotted in occasionally to remind you that these are red blooded men, albeit in double denim. Down the cast there are a lot of character actors mugging away for all they are worth and although not full of laughs, the film does have a good nature and no threat element whatsoever.

The direction is OK but I could have down with out the repeated sharp cuts of various people falling off the same horse - I know it’s a buckin’ horse but they don’t have to show it so buckin’ often! The Arizona locations are great and you do get a sense of the freedom that keeps drawing the cow pokes away to the hills year after year.

There is no attempt to layer the film with any sense of commentary on the nature of man or freedom; it’s more interested in plenty of pratfalls and a brief flash of bum that gets an over prominent showing on the poster above.

At less than 90 minutes the film isn’t asking for much of your time and even less of your analytical skills. It’s gentle feel good fun and a film that I enjoyed without feeling moved or asked to understand any concept or commentary.

THE Tag Line : Well Rounded - and that’s just the bums!   73%

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