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CUSTER OF THE WEST

title: CUSTER OF THE WEST
year: 1967
cast: Robert Shaw, Lawrence Tierney, Ty Hardin, Mary Ure
director: Robert Siodmak
rating: ***1/2

Two action-packed scenes sum up this entire film of the famous general who died infamously: or vice versa. One has two miners tied down by Indians to a stage coach trying to survive as they wind along a mountainous trail; another has a soldier riding down a log-jam as he escapes from a band of Indians. In both situations, the characters wind up like our title character, and yet the suspense, thanks for director Robert Siodmak, keeps the viewer interested till the bitter end. Sporadic conversations between Custer and General Sheridan (Lawrence Tierney), showing Custer in a sympathetic light, are highlights in a somewhat muddled bio that goes on too long but has some great moments: Robert Shaw's mesmerizing style of delivering monologues enhance a mediocre script. The last twenty minutes, leading up to, and then rushing the battle of, Little Big Horn, is a let-down: but it's the build-up, thanks to a capable director and cast, that works.
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