Thursday, July 7, 2011
The Wrath of God (1972)
There were two wraths of God in 1972.First there was Werner Herzog's Aguirre The Wrath of God and there was this film simply called The Wrath of God. Both films are worth seeing , though it's the second one, the one starring Robert Mitchum that I'm going to talk about.
The plot of the film has a (not so real) priest played by Robert Mitchum, an Irish man named Emmet played by Ken Hutchison, and a con men named Victor Buono are shanghaied by a general to take on a crazed rebel played by Frank Langella in a country south of the border. It's a mix of comedy and action (mostly action) as the trio wander into the town where Langella is holding sway. Quickly Langella and Mitchum get a hate on for each other almost instantly and things spiral down into ugly violence.
This is the sort of film that seems to have been lost to the ages. It's one of the many westerns made in the 1970's about the end of the west or after the end west- it's so far past the end of the American West that the action is now in Central America (Wild Bunch what have you wrought?)
The films strong point is the three colorful leads. Mitchum is Mitchum and that is way more than enough. Hutchinson's love struck Emmet is just the right mix of youthful bravado and man of action.Victor Buono is just a blast as the con man who wants to be anywhere but there and is always full of surprises. They are counterpointed the crazed Langella in what is probably his least restrained role. It's a mix that makes this the perfect rainy day movie.
I would be remiss not to mention that this is the last completed role of Rita Hayworth. Sadly this film marked the end of the road for her film career since it was during filming she was beginning to show signs of the disease that would ravage her life.
Sad foot note aside, this is a movie any self respecting action film or western lover should track down.