The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

CAHILL UNITED STATES MARSHAL (1973) ** ½

Cahill (John Wayne) is a United States Marshal that spends more time catching bad guys than hanging out with his two sons.  As a result, they wind up getting mixed-up with some no-good bank robbers led by Fraser (George Kennedy).  When the kids try to give the money back, the bandits come after them and it’s up to Cahill to save his sons’ bacon.

 

Cahill United States Marshal is a hair better than a lot of The Duke’s later films.  The reason for this is Cahill’s rocky relationship with his kids.  A lot of movies would’ve been tempted to get all sentimental while featuring two kids so heavily in the plot.  Cahill United States Marshal (both the movie and the man) opts for the tough love route and his sometimes unpredictable encounters with his sons (he uses them for bait to bring out Fraser and his men at one point) is a fresh spin on an otherwise middle of the road western.

 

The flick suffers from a lot of the same flaws that hamstrings a lot of Wayne oaters; namely that it’s too long and doesn’t have enough action.  The pacing is also erratic as fuck.  I will say that the bank robbery is pretty ingenious in this flick though.  First, Kennedy and his men purposefully get thrown in jail on a drunk and disorderly charge.  Then they get Cahill’s youngest son to start a fire in a barn and have him unlock the cell door during all the commotion.  While the sheriff and deputies are helping fight the fire, the crooks sneak over to the bank, rob it, stash the loot, and lock themselves back in jail.  Pretty clever if you ask me.

 

I liked Kennedy playing the heavy in this flick.  Usually he’s always a cop or an air traffic controller or something, so it was a nice change of pace seeing him playing a prick that squares off against The Duke.  Wayne gives another solid performance and his scenes with the kids are probably the best thing about the movie.  He also gets the best line of the flick when he tells a whining bandit, “If a buzzard bites you, he’d never eat meat again!”

 

AKA:  Cahill.  AKA:  Cahill U.S. Marshal.

Tags: c, john wayne, western
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