THE HIRED HAND (1971)
Director: Peter Fonda
Staring: Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, Verna Bloom
Viewed On Starz
This is not your typical run of the mill Western. There is so much more going on here. If you are like me and just looking for another killer spaghetti Western this one probably isn’t for you. The film starts off slow but there is still some violence that creeps in, some of it is sort of shocking, but it’s not done gratuitously, and it happens between a more complex story (for a Western of this time period). Everything about this is different then most the Westerns that come out during this period. The film is artsy in a way that is hard for me to explain.
The cinematography with the slow dissolves, Fonda’s eye for every single detail is pretty amazing as a director/actor. The dialog is just perfect. The shooting locations are great and look beautiful and are totally believable. Fonda’s character “Harry” speaks plainly and rarely. To me he looks a lot like a young Clint Eastwood with his scruff and cold demeanor.
This is another “buddy” flick in which Fonda and Warren Oats are companions who have traveled the west for seven years together. Fonda decides its time to return home to his wife and child who he had walked out on seven years prior. He brings along his buddy “Arch” played by Warren Oats. Oats in my opinion steals the show. He’s completely lovable and a great actor who never really got his due. Unfortunately he died in 1982 at 53 of a heart attack.
This film isn’t just a western. It’s a story about love, commitment and yup….revenge. It’s sad and brutal. I can’t express enough how much I enjoyed this one. It’s one that I somehow kept avoiding forever because it wasn’t on my radar as the type of gunslinger movie I usually enjoy. Don’t sleep on this like I did. It’s a true American masterpiece. (NW)
Nate Wilson: NW Devon Cahill: DC Heath Row: HR Matt Average: MA