"Each man has a song and this is my song." (Leonard Cohen)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Apache Blood (Key International Pictures, 1975) aka A Man Called She, Pursuit

The Worst Western Ever Made?

I said yesterday that there was one Western which really was total trash, indeed an offense to the genre.

I have reviewed well over 1000 Westerns in this blog, the good, the bad and the downright lousy. And there are hundreds still to come. I have reviewed junk spaghettis, Eurocrap 'westerns', serials, ultra-low-budget movies, one-reeler silents and made-for-TV dross designed to fill up the schedules. They all have something. There's a saving grace. The spaghettis had shocking color, lousy plots, Z-grade dialogue, appalling music and so on but maybe they had Lee Van Cleef in the lead or one good shot of a horseman on a skyline. Something.

When I review Westerns, I give them a rating, from 1 to 5 revolvers. Mighty epics and towering leaders of the genre get 5. The Searchers, High Noon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, that kind of thing.

Outstandingly good films get 4: The Bravados, Winchester '73, Pale Rider.

Worthy efforts, well worth a watch or a DVD purchase, get 3. Joel McCrea pictures like The Lone Hand, a good Randolph Scott Western like Abilene Town or a thoughtful oater such as Gunman's Walk.

As for 2-revolver pictures, they are maybe worth seeing by Western fans or have good features - maybe a fine actor or photographer, maybe a well-written screenplay that kind of thing, but they aren't top-drawer stuff that you need to have with you on a desert island. Some of them have fatal weaknesses. Or maybe I just don't really like them! El Dorado, Drum Beat, Vera Cruz.

But everything gets at least one. After all, they have made a Western. That deserves a reward on its own. They have added to the genre. Maybe they tried hard or maybe they were just exploiting. It doesn't matter. A Western gets 1 revolver. All those spaghettis, Johnny Mack Brown series Westerns, total turkeys like How The West Was Won or The Rare Breed. Anything.

Well, almost anything. Apache Blood, aka A Man Called She and Pursuit, is an extra-low-budget, very badly directed, boring film with rotten actors. It is almost a silent movie because there is little or no dialogue. Perhaps it was shot in VHS or perhaps the very low quality of the print I saw was a result of VHS being transferred to DVD. Anyway, it’s lousy.

The music is annoying.

A fat scout (Dewitt Lee) is pursued by a thin Apache (Ray Danton) and hobbles across Arizona for 89 interminable minutes. Danton is called Yellow Shirt because he wears a yellow shirt (but no trousers). There is a really stupid ending, then we are obliged to watch ‘highlights’ all over again in flashback.

It’s an ultra-low-quality exploitation flick with art pretensions that it dismally fails to live up to. It is the only film I have ever reviewed to receive no ‘revolvers' at all. You might think, well, if it’s that bad, I might watch it, for fun. Take my advice. Don’t. Just trust me. That way you won’t be mentally scarred.



  1. Your criticisms are valid, but the Ed Norton music score is worth studying.

  2. OK, if you say so.
    The trouble is, to listen to it I'd have to watch the film again.