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White Comanche (1968)

by on 2011/06/04

“You are as the wild duck who sits on the pond.”

* *

William Shatner playing a cowboy named Johnny Moon and his evil twin, a peyote-crazed Comanche named Notah? I couldn’t wait to kick off’s all-cowboy month with this dusty Spaghetti western.

William Shatner doesn’t just play a brave in White Comanche, he is brave. So very brave. Witness Mr. Shatner shouting from a craggy Spanish hilltop some of the worst dialogue I have ever heard, wearing only skin-tight jeans and a headband.


It is tough to tell the two brothers apart. Here’s a tip: you know it is the evil twin Notah because (sometimes, inconsistently) he’s wearing warpaint and eyeliner/eyebrow pencil. Notah says things like “The ‘pale eyes’ will die” and “He will burn with my squaw and unborn child.”

Creepy stuff.

Understandably, Johnny Moon is pretty tired of his brother evil Kirk’ing every passing stagecoach and small town. It is totally messing up his social life. It was tough enough being a “half breed” with white father and First Nations mother.

Now people mistake the good brother for his drug-addled raping and pillaging brother. Things get really awkward.

Johnny has had enough. “We. Are. No. Longer. Brothers,” he tells Notah.

Most of what I’m about to rage against – starting now – has nothing to do with Bill. This courageous man acted his heart in this lame pack-horse of a western.

First, some very low-grade elements were thrown into this Spaghetti western pasta maker. Even through the hair and dust on the terrible print of this film, I could see the grainy stock footage didn’t match the action shots. The editing was clearly done with a blunt stone waraxe, and some of the shots were just plain silly (like the crooked crane shot at the general store).

And the real villain of this film wasn’t the evil twin at all, it was the absolutely horrendous music. The crime jazz soundtrack with brush-heavy snare and timpani drums made absolute no sense. Did Jean Ledrut, the composer, see this movie or even get a general gist of what it was about?

Terrible music in the background, Johnny and Notah decide to square off, High Noon-style in a little town called Rio Hondo. There, as Johnny’s trying to get settled, one of Notah’s victims, a saloon girl named Kelly (Rosanna Yanni) tries to shoot Johnny *twice* for assaulting her.

Try telling that ‘how we met’ story to their grandkids.

Fortunately Johnny clears up the misunderstanding by flashing his blue eyes at her (Notah’s eyes are black). Kelly and Johnny fall for each other, immediately, for some reason. The town sherriff, played by Joseph Cotten, also seems to take a shine to the stranger Johnny.

Soon the whole town’s cowering behind Johnny as a war party of Comanches threaten to kill them all.

The final face off between Johnny Moon and Notal was entertaining, strange and sort of funny. I won’t spoil it.

As the putrid yellow credits rolled, I wished I could give this movie a better review. I mean, I did laugh a lot. And I have a soft spot for the “The Shat.”

But alas, I must give this first film in our June western marathon two sparkly stars, one for each twin – good and evil.

* *

93 minutes

Unrated but with plenty of peyote eating, back stabbing, lynching, shooting, beer drinking and poor grammar

  1. Reblogged this on Joseph Cotten & Teresa Wright Appreciation and commented:
    On my to view list for Joseph Cotten and yeah, I have soft spot for The Shat as well.

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