A Man Called Sledge - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Man Called Sledge Reviews

Page 1 of 1
½ March 27, 2016
160327: First off, I have never been a big fan of James Garner. Even in this film, he strikes me...wrong? But, this is a pretty damn good movie. Spaghettiesque in its soundtrack, score and filming. And, there is some fantastic cinematography contained within; the most beautiful being a headshot of Laura Antonelli (Ria) about mid-way through. She's beautiful and steals from the amazing landscape. Features some fantastic western stars including Dennis Weaver, Claude Akins and John Marley; most of whom are part of Sledge's gang. The musical score is very reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained (2012), or should I say, Tarantino may have taken some inspiration from this film. This one surprised me and is well worth watching. A saver.
½ July 13, 2015
Somewhat better than I was expecting, Garner gets to play a real mean hombre - who is putting off that decision of finding a new leaf worth turning over.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ November 13, 2014
Luther Sledge and gang have just robbed a stagecoach in the old west. But that victory does not come without a cost, as the coach driver is accidentally killed and Sledge's partner soon after dies in a card game. None of which stops Sledge from meeting up with Ward(Dennis Weaver) and Hooker(Claude Akins) to discuss an ambitious new plan to rob a gold shipment. At the same time, there is an old man(John Marley) following them who might have some inside knowledge.

"A Man Called Sledge" might not be what would one would normally expect from a typical James Garner vehicle, as this is a Spaghetti western where he plays a much more ruthless character than the charming rogues he was usually known for.(That does partially explain why the forced romantic subplot never quite gels.) That having been said, there is still plenty to admire in this entertaining and violent genre smash-up where death is a constant companion for the characters in a movie made during the sunset of the western. On the other hand, it does take the outlaws a long time to find the obvious, if very daft, solution.
September 21, 2014
I'm a huge fan of spaghetti western and I'm a huge fan of James Garner, so I'm not sure why it took be so long to ever watch this film. However, outside of getting to see Garner play against his usual type of role, here playing a scuzzy cowboy leading a group of outlaws set on stealing a large shipment of gold, the film is surprisingly not that engaging. Produced by Dino De Laurentiis and directed by American actor Vic Morrow (Jennifer Jason Leigh's dad, who also co-wrote the screenplay), the film does feel like a gritty spaghetti western, but lacks the style or quirk that separated the good from the bland to the awful of this genre. There are some nice touches though, like Garner splitting his gun-hand with a crucifix, but there wasn't enough like this to make this film all that special. Dennis Weaver, Claude Akins and John Marley (the guy from "The Godfather" who wakes up with a horse head in his bed) co-star. Overall, the film is worth checking out if you're a fan of the genre and is decent, but I was expecting it to be better.
July 8, 2014
Not bad for a Spaghetti Western, terrific cast!
May 15, 2014
Poorly directed, with horrible theme music. At least when James Garner had the love scene with Laura Antonelli, she was not wearing the red, woolen underwear! Garner referred to that film as A MAN CALLED SLUDGE.
April 13, 2014
Always been a Garner fan, and used to enjoy The Rockford Files. I read that this movie was contrived to cash in on the spaghetti western craze of the times, albeit too little too late to be a contender.
Yes, Garner is miscast as a baddie. Like Selleck he is too inherently likeable to be the villain. He's a man's man and anything less than heroism and noble deeds from him don't ring true. Nonetheless, in the role of Sledge, Garner plays a man whose moral compass veers from middle of the road to mean, murderous and muddle-headed. Not entirely evil through and through, Sledge combines natural leadership (his willing gang members keen to do his bidding), with callous disregard (as long standing saddle buddies get shot in card games or bite the dust) with the traits of fanatical greed (for more gold than you and your horse can ride off with) and being entirely loveable (according to the one and only beautiful woman in the whole wild west who has eyes only for him and waits patiently for his uncertain return).
Perhaps Morrow was going for the same inscrutability of Eastwood's nameless stogie-puffing sharpshooter who more or less redeems himself along the way in the Leone series, but Sledge comes across as an implausible mix of personal traits inside a character who is such a bad guy that everyone for miles around knows him, fears him, or wants to turn him in for the price on his head.
Stylistically, this movie lingers at the wrong moments on plot elements that don't warrant the airtime. An almost psychedelic cross-dissolving shot sequence conjures a crazy hot desert sun card game (apparently unquenched with either water or whiskey) which goes on long enough for one of the players to lose all his gold. All the while, a repetitive vocal soundtrack harps on about the perils of greed, the weakness of men and the allure of gold. This is a tortuous stretch of footage that makes you want to press fast forward or even eject. I held on, because even with second-rate westerns, I like to give a movie the benefit of the doubt until the bitter end.
And what about the end? I would not wish to spoil it for anyone, but I think there may be some kind of morality lesson in this tale along with some personal redemption stuff, but there aren't enough other reviews to corroborate that. And it was all so very long ago now.
April 10, 2014
A western worth watching, if ya can stand the corny background music!
March 29, 2012
James Garner rarely, if ever, disappoints. Don't take a pass.
½ March 12, 2012
Pretty good western with a good cast of actors. Makes me wanna see more movies with James Garner, Dennis Weaver and Claude Akins.
½ May 15, 2011
Once Again, "Revisionist" Means "With No Likable Characters"

This is one I must have gotten from my mother. I will really watch all sorts of movies I can't stand--once--if they have James Garner in them. He is in about the only Mel Gibson movie I will still watch, and he's one of the reasons I'll watch it, of course. I like him a great deal. I find him amusing in an intelligent way. James Garner's characters are in general witty. This is not universally true, as a brief skim through his resume will show, but even when he's playing serious characters, there's just something about him. Something around the eyes. He frequently gives the impression of a man who's about to give a wide grin over just how silly the whole thing is. Even when he's, oh, in a German prisoner of war camp in World War II, say. Even when he knows all the Americans are watching Steve McQueen and the British don't want him in the movie at all.

Unfortunately, he's none too witty here. He is notorious outlaw Luther Sledge, a vicious cutthroat with a price on his head. He'll kill a man as soon as look at him. And one day, an old man (John Marley) tells him a story of gold. Forty men ride the gold shipment across the desert, and they stop overnight at a prison where the old man spent many years. He says no man can get at the gold, and he laughs, knowing that he's made Sledge determined to be the man who will. There are all sorts of other assorted Western characters here, too, of course. There's the Hooker With a Heart of Gold, Ria (Laura Antonelli), who loves Sledge and knows that he basically just doesn't have a heart. There's the Sheriff Out For Revenge (Wayde Preston). Various members of the gang, including Claude Akins. I'm pretty sure Dennis Weaver's in the gang, too, but I'll admit to losing track of who a lot of characters were. And, of course, this is a gritty Western from 1971, filmed in Italy, so it's not going to end well.

I have to confess that I kind of like the theme song, "Other Men's Gold." I'm as surprised as you. I mean, I don't think I'd exactly seek it out and listen to it on purpose, and I'm not sure "it encapsulates the movie well" is a good defense given that I didn't like the movie. But it did basically sum up the problem these men were having. None of them were much into personal property rights, and they liked gold quite a lot, and so gold in someone else's hands was just gold on its way to theirs, should they decide to take it. Honour among thieves only goes so far. They would have been better off, all of them, had they all gone their separate ways after getting the gold. However, they'd been partners during the admittedly impressive robbery, and that meant they were on the same side. Only each man probably felt he deserved a bigger share than the others, and I bet each of them could explain why he did. However, in the end, none of them were inclined to listen to any of the others.

I sometimes think that I should just stop watching movies from the seventies. This is hard for me, because there are some classics I have not yet seen. (Obviously, anything live action from the Walt Disney Studios would be exempted from this!) However, I find myself disliking quite a lot of the movies I feel most obligated to watch. Not that this one was on that list. However, this was the decade of the rise of Woody Allen movies. "Gritty realism" was a big thing, and while that worked if you were, say, Martin Scorsese, there are quite a lot of people who aren't. The adjective I want to use, in fact, to sum up film of the seventies is "masculine." This probably isn't fair. However, I think an argument can be made, even by looking at those classics I need to get around to at some point. Or Woody Allen, whose films I won't be bothering with. If there are female characters at all, they are ciphers, somehow despicable, or both. This is not a universal, but it's true enough to be vexing.

The character might have been more believable if it hadn't been played by James Garner, but I suspect I would have liked the movie less. Which, I admit, would have taken some doing. The filming was surprisingly not terrible, given that director Vic Morrow was also an actor who'd guested on [i]Mannix[/i] that same year. (Alas, he would die in a helicopter accident on the set of the [i]Twilight Zone[/i] movie.) The scenery was, well, standard Spaghetti Western scenery. Sets ditto. The problem is that there wasn't much to work with. A similar plot held together better as a comedy when it was [i]The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again[/i], which is a seventies movie I'll watch again. But basically, the movie only hangs together if you have any interest in or, hopefully, sympathy with Sledge. Casting James Garner in the role made me predisposed to, which is probably at least part of why they cast him. But all in all, the movie just made me wish he'd done something else instead. Something funny.
November 27, 2010
A MAN CALLED SLEDGE (1971)
May 25, 2010
Many American leading men trailed Clint Eastwood to Europe during the heyday of the Spaghetti western in the 1960s and 1970s. Reportedly, not only did Lee Van Cleef achieve superstar status on the continent, but he also surpassed Eastwood's popularity in westerns. Burt Reynolds took top billing in Sergio Corbucci's "Navajo Joe," about a vengeful redskin. Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson tangled in Sergio Leone's "Once Upon A Time in the West." James Coburn and Eli Wallach anted up for a couple of oaters. Most American stars were either solidly established or whose careers were riding the rails to the big sundown, such as Guy Madison, Rod Cameron, Stewart Granger, John Ireland, Yul Brynner, etc. Surprisingly, lightweight leading man James Garner crossed the Atlantic for "War & Peace" producer Dino De Laurentiis to star in a savage western "A Man Called Sledge" with former "Combat" star Vic Morrow at the helm. Fellow "Combat" alumnus Frank Kowlaski co-scripted "A Man Called Sledge" with Morrow. This formulaic shoot'em up saga qualifies as James Garner's most unusual role. The "Maverick" star shunned his affable image to play against type as a no-holds barred outlaw who is clearly on the wrong side of the law. Dennis Weaver of "Gunsmoke," Claude Akins of "Return of the Seven," and "Colt .45" star Wade Preston fleshed out the "Sledge" cast along with fellow Americans Ken Clark and Tony Young. Shot on location by seasoned lenser Luigi Kuveiller against the sheer, raw beauty of Spain, this frontier western adventure told a tale about greed and revenge. Essentially, "Sledge" emerged as an impossible heist western, similar to director Don Taylor's "The 5-Man Army" (1969) with Peter Graves and James Daly.

"A Man Called Sledge" opens--in Sergio Corbucci country--with Luther Sledge (James Garner) and Mallory (Tony Young of "Taggart") robbing a stagecoach on a snowy mountain trail. During the hold-up, the shotgun guard chucks his weapon. Incredibly, a freak accident--that neither Sledge nor Mallory anticipated?occurs. The shotgun discharges and kills the driver. Talk about coincidence! Sledge and Mallory make off with the loot to a secluded saloon known as 'the 3 Ws. They feel awful about the accidental death of the driver. Sledge has come to meet his girlfriend Ria (Laura Antonelli of "Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs") and he joins her upstairs in a room. Overconfident Mallory decides to play poker. "You're the worse poker player I ever saw," Sledge reminds Mallory. Ironically, Mallory wins hand after hand. Triumphantly, as he gathers his fortune, Mallory observes, "I just made a killing," and evil Floyd (Ken Clark of "Attack of the Giant Leeches") shoots him in the back. Sledge stumbles down the stairs and finds Mallory dead on the floor. Floyd and his cohorts ridicule Sledge. Sledge whips out Mallory's pistol and guns them both down. An old man (John Marley of "Love Story") witnesses the gunfight. Later, Sledge intercepts him in Rockville and suspects him for being a bounty hunter. The old man goes berserk after Sledge trusses him up so he cannot watch an escort of 40-armed riders take a gold payroll into a nearly prison for safekeeping. He explains that the riders lock up the gold?usually about $300-thousand worth?in the prison vault overnight before they continue to the clear house.

The old man recounts his prison days. "I never could sleep when that gold was next to me. You know gold gives off a scent. It's like an animal or a man. Paper money don't throw off a scent. Paper money don't whisper to you like gold does through six inches of steel." Sledge decides to steal the gold, but Ward (Dennis Weaver) and Hooker (Claude Atkins) are leery about the heist. Similarly, Sledge reveals a lot about himself when he says, "I ain't kidding myself that it is the last. I'm gonna finish my life with a white picket fence and the little woman making biscuits. Me sprouting gray like a tree in the fall. I wanna go out with a bullet in my head or a rope around my neck. I want a little taste of living before I go." Sledge and company follow the gold from mine to prison but find no flaw in the security precautions. They ride into Rockville for supplies and the Old Man poses as a head of a westbound family and an arsenal of weapons. "I feel like one of those Eastern war profiteers," Sims confides in Rockville Sheriff Ripley (Wade Preston) that the Old Man bought "enough firepower to save Custer. When Ripley enters the store, Sledge pokes a gun in his back. Another gunfight erupts and a Sledge man dies in a murderous crossfire. After the death of one of their own, Ward and Hooker are really reluctant about the gold shipment robbery, until Sledge devises a daring plan. Since they cannot take it from the outside, Sledge proposes to take it in the prison. Ward poses as Deputy Marshall and gains entrance to the prison because he has Sledge in his custody. They put Sledge in solitary with the rest of the other loonies and Sledge breaks out with Ward's help. Morrow generates considerable suspense in solitary with their breakout. The way that Sledge gets out of being taken by Ripley to the Rockville City Jail is clever, too.

Thematically, "A Man Called Sledge" concerns greed and the song 'The Curse that Follows Other Men's Gold' summarizes the storyline. Everybody is after somebody else's gold, and greed consumes them to the point that nothing else matters. This western boasts some irony so that the action contains greater depth. Mallory wins at cards but loses his life. Audaciously, Sledge engineers a way into the worst prison in the Southwest where the authorities would dearly love to incarcerate him. Later, he lashes a crucifix to his hand so he can fire his gun. "A Man Called Sledge" qualifies a gritty but entertaining Italian western!
January 2, 2009
Many American leading men trailed Clint Eastwood to Europe during the heyday of the Spaghetti western in the 1960s and 1970s. Reportedly, not only did Lee Van achieve superstar status on the continent, but he also surpassed Eastwood's popularity in westerns. Burt Reynolds took top billing in Sergio Corbucci's "Navajo Joe," about a revenge seeking redskin. Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson tangled in Sergio Leone's "Once Upon A Time in the West." James Coburn and Eli Wallach anted up for a couple of oaters. Most American stars were either solidly established or whose careers were riding the rails to the big sundown, such as Guy Madison, Rod Cameron, Stewart Granger, John Ireland, Yul Brynner, etc. Surprisingly, lightweight leading man James Garner crossed the Atlantic for "War & Peace" producer Dino De Laurentiis to star in a savage western "A Man Called Sledge" with former "Combat" star Vic Morrow at the helm. Fellow "Combat" alumnus Frank Kowlaski co-scripted "A Man Called Sledge" with Morrow. This formulaic shoot'em up saga qualifies as James Garner's most unusual role. "Maverick" star James Garner shunned his affable image to play against type as a no-holds barred outlaw who is clearly on the wrong side of the law. Dennis Weaver of "Gunsmoke," Claude Akins of "Return of the Seven," and "Colt .45" star Wade Preston fleshed out the "Sledge" cast along with fellow Americans Ken Clark and Tony Young. Shot on location by seasoned lenser Luigi Kuveiller against the sheer, raw beauty of Spain, this frontier western adventure told a tale about greed and revenge. Essentially, "Sledge" emerged as an impossible heist western, similar to director Don Taylor's "The 5-Man Army" (1969) with Peter Graves and James Daly.

"A Man Called Sledge" opens--in Sergio Corbucci country--with Luther Sledge (James Garner) and Mallory (Tony Young of "Taggart") robbing a stagecoach on a snowy mountain trail. During the hold-up, the shotgun guard chucks his weapon. Incredibly, a freak accident--that neither Sledge nor Mallory anticipated‚??occurs. The shotgun discharges and kills the driver. Talk about coincidence! Sledge and Mallory make off with the loot to a secluded saloon known as 'the 3 Ws. They feel awful about the accidental death of the driver. Sledge has come to meet his girlfriend Ria (Laura Antonelli of "Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs") and he joins her upstairs in a room. Overconfident Mallory decides to play poker. "You're the worse poker player I ever saw," Sledge reminds Mallory. Ironically, Mallory wins hand after hand. Triumphantly, as he gathers his fortune, Mallory observes, "I just made a killing," and evil Floyd (Ken Clark of "Attack of the Giant Leeches") shoots him in the back. Sledge stumbles down the stairs and finds Mallory dead on the floor. Floyd and his cohorts ridicule Sledge. Sledge whips out Mallory's pistol and guns them both down. An old man (John Marley of "Love Story") witnesses the gunfight. Later, Sledge intercepts him in Rockville and suspects him for being a bounty hunter. The old man goes berserk after Sledge trusses him up so he cannot watch an escort of 40-armed riders take a gold payroll into a nearly prison for safekeeping. He explains that the riders lock up the gold‚??usually about $300-thousand worth‚??in the prison vault overnight before they continue to the clear house.

The old man recounts his prison days. "I never could sleep when that gold was next to me. You know gold gives off a scent. It's like an animal or a man. Paper money don't throw off a scent. Paper money don't whisper to you like gold does through six inches of steel." Sledge decides to steal the gold, but Ward (Dennis Weaver) and Hooker (Claude Atkins) are leery about the heist. Similarly, Sledge reveals a lot about himself when he says, "I ain't kidding myself that it is the last. I'm gonna finish my life with a white picket fence and the little woman making biscuits. Me sprouting gray like a tree in the fall. I wanna go out with a bullet in my head or a rope around my neck. I want a little taste of living before I go." Sledge and company follow the gold from mine to prison but find no flaw in the security precautions. They ride into Rockville for supplies and the Old Man poses as a head of a westbound family and an arsenal of weapons. "I feel like one of those Eastern war profiteers," Sims confides in Rockville Sheriff Ripley (Wade Preston) that the Old Man bought "enough firepower to save Custer. When Ripley enters the store, Sledge pokes a gun in his back. Another gunfight erupts and a Sledge man dies in a murderous crossfire. After the death of one of their own, Ward and Hooker are really reluctant about the gold shipment robbery, until Sledge devises a daring plan. Since they cannot take it from the outside, Sledge proposes to take it in the prison. Ward poses as Deputy Marshall and gains entrance to the prison because he has Sledge in his custody. They put Sledge in solitary with the rest of the other loonies and Sledge breaks out with Ward's help. Morrow generates considerable suspense in solitary with their breakout. The way that Sledge gets out of being taken by Ripley to the Rockville City Jail is clever, too.

Thematically, "A Man Called Sledge" concerns greed and the song 'the Curse that Follows Other Men's Gold' sums up the action. Everybody is after somebody else's gold, and greed consumes them to the point that nothing else matters. This western boasts some irony so that the action contains greater depth. Mallory wins at cards but loses his life. Audaciously, Sledge engineers a way into the worst prison in the Southwest where the authorities would dearly love to maintain him. Later, he ties a cross to his hand so he can fire his gun. "A Man Called Sledge" qualifies a gritty but entertaining Italian western!
August 24, 2008
This is actually a "Spaghetti Western" despite its being directed by American actor Vic Morrow and the rather large number of Yanks in the cast (Garner, Weaver, Akins, Marley). Dino DeLaurentis produced the film and it was released in Italy, Europe, and the UK before being dumped into drive-ins and grindhouses in the USA.
James Garner had played hardmen in the past but Luther Sledge is an out-and-out desperado who engineers the theft of a shipment of gold. The film starts out with a stagecoach robbery in the snowbound mountains (ala THE GREAT SILENCE) but soon Garner and company are rooting around the deserts of southern Spain (standing in for the American Southwest). Several standout scenes include a breakout from a federal prison to cover Sledge's robbery; Sledge's card game with the old man (John Marley); and the religous procession that leaves the village that Sledge has a showdown with his turncoat gang members in. After dealing with the gang but losing the gold, Sledge rides out just as the villagers return.
Laura Antonelli went on to be a major star in adult European films; her sex scenes with Garner were cut from most American prints.
Page 1 of 1