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MICHAEL WINNER DIRECTS CHARLES BRONSON IN 'CHATO'S LAND'

Charles Bronson in CHATO'S LAND year: 1971

The first act of CHATO'S LAND should have an alternative title, since we don't experience his land, along with his wrath, till much, much later on. Perhaps THE MOSSY POSSE would have fit being that Jack Palance, as brooding ex-Confederate Capt. Quincey Whitmore, progressively gathers up a gang to head after Charles Bronson as Pardon Chato, who, in the film's gun-blasting prelude, kills a white man and is "gonna hang for it!" But that's only after he gets caught... which doesn't seem likely...

Rating: **1/2

Chato knows his land, much like MR. MAJESTYK in two years, playing cat and mouse with the inferior villains; but it's really like two separate movies in one. The angry white men talk about Chato and how terrible Indians are in general, and we get to know some of them better than others, especially Richard Jordan as a young and feisty, troubled, sexed-up white trash and Simon Oakland as the polar opposite... 

And yet he and several others hate Indians more than the mellow Palance, never losing his cool and playing a philosophical waiting game... And he waits, and waits...

Problem is, so do we... Way too long while never quite "walking a mile in the moccasins" of our title hero... Other than a few tricks, like splitting water bottles and stealing horses, the posse take up more screen time than Bronson, who actually does look part Mexican or Eskimo to begin with, and there's a point when this Anti-Western action flick could have actually used some action, earlier on, to see more what Chato's made of other than being Charles Bronson. Despite a few good scenes toward the end, the hunted and the hunter, and then the hunter doing the hunting, are too separate from each other to matter... or seem connected... as a whole. 

Posse from CHATO'S LAND given more time than Chato

Charles Bronson in CHATO'S LAND
Charles Bronson in CHATO'S LAND

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