Paramount // 1968 // 113 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // June 24th, 2005
To escape his past, he had to destroy it.
Blue is a poor excuse for a film, and an ever poorer excuse for a western (hopefully that'll make sense in a minute). It's badly written, directed, and acted. The plot is another one of those "bad man inexplicably turns good and is eventually forced to confront his past" deals. This film is so bad, in fact, that I'm going to refrain from being my usual rambling self and just get this over with as quickly as possible. (I'll even refrain from mentioning that Doris Grau was the film's script supervisor -- oops, too late.)
Terence Stamp (Red Planet) is Blue, American born but raised by a Mexican bandit. Blue turns his back on his Mexican brethren the day they decide to pillage a border settlement. (Apparently he doesn't have a problem with cold-blooded murder, but he refuses to be seen in the company of rapists.) Wounded by settlers who are chasing the bandits back across the border, Blue is nursed back to health by the settlement's physician, Doc Morton (Karl Malden, Patton), and Morton's daughter Joanne (Joanna Pettet, Casino Royale). The Mortons try to hide Blue's identity from the other settlers. But this proves impossible when Ortega (Ricardo Montalban, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over), Blue's adoptive father, decides to exact revenge on the settlers, who killed one of his sons during the raid. (I like how Montalban tells them he's coming back to burn the town; makes it easier for the settlers to formulate a game plan.) Blue then rallies the settlers and organizes them into a war party. Snooze.
Nothing here will surprise anyone, from Blue's relationship with Joanna, to the young hothead who is sure Blue is a Mexican bandit (I guess Blue's blonde hair and ever-changing accent give him away), right on through to the showdown between father and son in the middle of what I assume is supposed to be the Rio Grande. On top of that, Blue is clumsily filmed and edited. Director Silvio Narizzano (I've never heard of him, either) doesn't know how to handle the material; the action scenes generally fall flat (especially the fistfight between Stamp and Montalban's obviously much younger stunt double), and the climatic set piece doesn't make a whole lot of sense (the good guys seems to be in about six different places at the same time). To make matters worse, the film was shot on some beautiful locations (Utah, I believe), but for the most part the chances to showcase the scenery are squandered. If you're going to bore us with the story, couldn't you at least give us something pretty to look at?
At least the transfer is nice. In fact, it's pretty darn good; the only flaws are some nicks and scratches in the source print. The audio, on the other hand, isn't anything special. It's rather creaky, with anemic lows, shrill highs, and a canned quality to the dialogue. What do you get in the way of extras? Absolutely nothing.
Here's the bottom line: Blue sucks. Out loud. General Zod deserves better. Hell, so does Lunchlady Doris.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 113 Minutes
Release Year: 1968
MPAA Rating: Not Rated