PANCHO VILLA (1972)

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Pancho Villa Cover Come, my friends. Come gather round the camp fire and embrace Mother Nature's warmth and compassion like the good Lord intended. And if you don't want to do that, you can always watch this 92 minute movie made in 1972, Directed by Eugenio Martín; and Starring: Telly Savalas, Clint Walker, with Anne Francis. Viva La Revolution!!!!


Pancho Villa


THE STORY:
Now as soon as I save Pancho Villa (Telly Savalas) from those darn pesky Mexican's, I say to myself, 'Scotty (Clint Walker) my boy. You're a pretty decent chap. So stop saving your business partner and start enjoying yourself. Go on. Do it. Take your lovely wife Flo (Anne Francis) out for a nice night on the town'.

But hey! Do you honestly think I can do that without a single hitch? Ha! Like hell I can. Everywhere I seem to turn a bunch of bandit's try to fill me full of led. Be it at the theatre, at a local hotel, or at a pre-arranged gun-drop. Constantly they get on my bloody tits until I kick them all in the nuts and make my way back to Pancho's place.

After that, though, well, things get a bit weird for me and my revolutionary business partner. Although I suppose you can safely say Pancho doesn't make it easy for any of us. Especially when he decides to saddle up his army of men, and then traipse us across country so he can obtain the munitions he needs to kick-off his battle against his oppressors.

Still. That's most probably why what next transpires all goes nowhere fast, when Colonel Wilcox (Chuck Connors) steps into play with the U.S. Army. As mice have no heart - can you smell Luis (José María Prada) fart - how can you have bangers without mash - and at the end of the day, this film turns out to be one hell of a train crash.


[ RARE TV SPOT ]


THE REVIEW:
Now if you were expecting 'Pancho Villa' to be a dramatized account pertaining to the life and times of this noted Mexican revolutionary, then I'm afraid to say that you're sh*t out of luck, pal. Not only wasn't it a factual bio-pic, in many ways it was a film that lost its direction due to its style.

Pancho Villa Film Poster Starring Telly Savalas and Clint Walker
Well, to put it as best I can, I presume the makers of this movie wanted it to be a satirical story about Pancho's life. Yet, whilst they were developing it, they must have missed out on one vital ingredient to make this comedy actually work.

They forgot to make it funny.

From my point of view a good example of this would be those few scenes you can see midway through this picture. In one of them Clint's character goes out on a date with his wife. But instead of them being on there own together, she ends up taking a man-friend with her too. Also, there's another scene where Telly's character feels like he having a heart-attack. However, when a doctor turns up to examine him, he discover's that the fluttering over his chest is down to a mouse hovering within his undergarments.  

Yeah. Those were some pretty lame jokes, weren't they?

Furthermore, something else about this film I wasn't too keen on; was how structurally it kind of zigzagged from one part of the narrative to another, and this directly made it feel rather confusing to follow as a story in its own right.

Now please don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to insinuate that the tale was total pants. No. Of course not. At times it was a somewhat pithy tale to purview. It's just that it took quite a bit of time to actually figure out what this adventure was supposed to be. And even then, you have to sit through at least forty minutes to engage with its jovial sequence of events.


Pancho Villa Film Poster Starring Telly Savalas


On the reverse side of my negativity, though, there were a couple of things I did enjoy about this escapade as well. For instance, despite some of the jokes being rather naff in execution, in the same breath there were some others that did make me laugh like a loon. Not many mind you. But a hand-full that compelled me to want to watch this movie till the very end.

Also, I have to applaud the four main leads for making this movie fairly watch-able. Honestly. If it wasn't for Telly's charm, Clint's stoic nature, Anne's beauty, and Chucks over the top antics, this flick would turn out to be as bland as a bland thing that is very-very bland.

Pancho Villa Movie Poster Starring Telly Savalas and Clint Walker
Anyway. That's enough of that for the moment, folks. As I think it's about time for us to check out the following filmic-facts. (1) 'Granada Films' first released this production in West Germany, on the very same day twenty-two servicemen were tragically killed in the Vietnam War. It was on the 31st of October, 1972. (2) Now if you took any notice of my previous fact, you might like to know that the makers of this movie devised it to reflect the Anti-War sentiments brewing within America at the time. (3) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Born Rebel' in Greece; 'Bandit Pancho' in Finland, plus it was given the alternate title, 'Vendetta', in America. (4) In his autobiography, Bernard Gordon, who produced this film, stated that Telly Savalas and Clint Walker didn't get along too well during production. Often Salavas attempted to upstage Walker, by insisting that the director should change certain two-shot set-ups to a solo set-up. But Clint didn't mind though. He was more than happy acting alongside his other co-star, Anne Francis. (5) Apart from those scenes shot within 'Estudios Madrid 70', the rest of this movie was shot on location throughout the Mediterranean country of Spain. This includes Guadix, based in Andalucía; as well as Aranjuez and Colmenar Viejo, based in Madrid. (6) Even though this might sound like a rather unusual combination, this Spaghetti Western was in fact a co-production financed between America, England, and Spain. (7) The tagline used to promote this picture, was, 'The only man to invade the U.S.A.!'.  (8) After this flick screamed out for revolution, Telly Savalas starred in the western, 'A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die'; Clint Walker starred in the horror-thriller, 'Scream of the Wolf', and Anne Francis starred in the television series, 'Assignment Vienna'.


Pancho Villa Film Still


Overall 'Pancho Villa' reminded me of a modern-day bland comedian who hasn't perfected their act yet. Even if the core of their jokes sound funny down on paper, as push comes to shove, the way you tell them, means a lot more than the way you write them.

Nuff said.

THE RATING: C+