Wednesday, 24 April 2013

No.92 : The Marauders

The Marauders at the IMDb

Low key western action now in ‘The Marauders’  from 1955, a film with the distinction of starring no one I’ve ever heard of.

We open with a man stopping at a remote ranch looking for water. This is grudgingly given before he’s told to bugger off. Clearly this is a ranch owned by a social misfit or by a rancher experiencing troubles from the local cattle baron. It turned out to be the latter.

Our man is a homesteader who has the rights to settle where he likes. This is against the wishes of the poor sod who actually owns the place and understandably he wants the squatter out. He enlists the help of ‘the general’ a Confederate officer who now works as a bookkeeper and has illusions of being a great military tactician. They plot to take the ranch but meanwhile the rancher is showing his usual hospitality to a thirsty family. Sadly for them they don’t bugger off in time and they are soon holed up in the ranch as the bad guys make their play.

Luckily the ranch is at the bottom of a steep cliff and is easy to defend. The cattle baron is quickly dispatched but his nutty bookkeeper decides to rally his motley band of marauders to take the homestead. Fortunately the sheltering family all turn out to be solid shorts and soon they are assisting the defence so much so that the marauders think there is an army hiding in the small shack.

The bad guys plot like Wylie Coyote on acid but like their inspiration they are doomed to fail as they are outsmarted at each turn. The bookkeeper isn’t happy with developments and destroys his water supply meaning his mean must secure the cabin or die of thirst. Can they get what’s rightfully theirs or will the squatter’s law of the jungle win the day? Will the precocious child survive and will the loss of Daddy mean the end of the rancher’s lonely nights?

This was a totally forgettable western that probably took a little longer than its 80 minutes running time to actually shoot. The characters were thinly drawn with the baddy bookkeeper with the English accent the only one with any colour. Sadly this colour was mostly brown as his sneering and conniving didn’t convince and he was as hammy as a bacon sandwich. The rest of the ‘Marauders’ were faceless nobodies although at least they kept the tradition of having one of them being a Mexican with a big sombrero.

The central relationship between the rancher and the wife was also thinly drawn with her largely unaffected when her husband ran off leaving her and her boy with their kidnapper. Although she gives him a small wound she’s quickly in line doing the womanly stuff like cooking the dinner and loading the guns. The boy wasn’t as bad as some but he grated all the same and sadly missed out on a grisly death.

If there was any subtext intended about the ideas of freedom or liberty I missed them as this just came across as a lazy script bashed out by someone who had a loan of some horses and cowboy hats for the weekend. Even the usual saving graces of great settings or elaborate gun fights were missing and the whole enterprise was instantly forgettable.

THE Tag Line : 80 minute eviction - Western Style  45%

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