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JORY (1973) ***

Jory (Robby Benson) is a young kid who sees his piano playing drunkard father get killed by a bad hombre.  That night, Jory confronts the murderer, who attacks him.  Jory smashes the guy’s head in with a rock in self defense and decides to high tail it out of town.  He joins up with a cattle drive headed by Roy (John Marley, from Deathdream) and Jocko (B.J. Thomas) who takes Jory under his wing and teaches him to shoot.  Once they bring the cattle to Texas, Jory gets a job being a bodyguard for a rancher’s cute daughter and they predictably fall in love.

 

I’ve been on a shitty run of movies lately.  About the last dozen flicks or so I’ve seen have been all fairly bad in more ways than one.  Maybe all of those lame-o films have clouded my judgment, because I surprisingly enough dug Jory.  At first it seems like one of those Hallmark Hall of Fame deals or something.  As the film goes on however, it gets increasingly violent and dark.  It’s not the sort of thing you’d expect to see Robby Benson starring in; that’s for sure.

 

I’ve never been a Robby Benson fan (this is the guy who starred in Ice Castles after all) but I have to admit that he’s quite good here.  He goes from the plucky kid to vengeful gunfighter quite believably; despite the Justin Bieber haircut.  The best performance of the flick though is courtesy of B.J. Thomas.  I’d never in a million years thought I’d be giving the guy who sang “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” praise for his acting.  He’s immensely likeable and does some mighty fine quick draw tricks too.

 

Although the film is consistently entertaining, once Jory becomes the chick’s protector, things sorta go downhill.  The last twenty minutes of the movie are nowhere near as interesting as the first seventy, but there is still enough good stuff here to recommend for western fans.  Robby Benson fans will probably add an extra star to the rating.

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