Bandolero! [1968]

Bandolero! peaks early, with a long, immensely satisfying opening half-hour in which cowpoke James Stewart saves his bank-robber brother (Dean Martin) from the hangman's noose... by strolling into town and masquerading as the hangman. As the brothers depart into Mexico, with a comely hostage (Raquel Welch) in tow, the action becomes more conventional. It's handsomely shot on eye-filling locations by outdoorsy veteran Andrew V. McLaglen (clever Jerry Goldsmith score, too). George Kennedy plays the lovelorn sheriff in pursuit, leading his half-hearted posse through bandito territory. Credibility suffers with Raquel's fabulous hair, which weathers kidnapping and life on the dusty trail with an unlikely sheen. Stewart and Martin, meanwhile, are too casual to allow the already-relaxed story to build up any real heat. For Western fans, the opening should make it worthwhile, even if it eventually becomes apparent why this one isn't considered a classic. --Robert Horton

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