Monday, September 12, 2011

Singin' the Blue: "Blue" (1968)



Terence Stamp is Azul (Spanish for "blue"), the adopted son of Mexican bandito Ricardo Montalban.

Montalban, tiring of the same old robbing and pillaging, and sensing unrest from all of his sons (natural and otherwise), decides to cross the river into the United States and do some damage to the country that recently took part of Mexico for itself.

The bandits raid a settlement, but Azul begins having a change of heart, deciding not to kill, but to stay in the United States. He saves Joanna Pettet's life, and is nursed back to health by her doctor father, Karl Malden. The rest of the bandits head back to Mexico, mourning their losses. For the first time, and half way through the film, Blue speaks. He is called Blue because of his eye color. He is not your typical Mexican, also possessing blonde hair and fair skin. He begins to take a liking to Pettet, and stays on to farm the doctor's land.

Eventually, Blue is introduced into the settlers' society, but not without raising the suspicions of some of the bandits' victims. Eventually, Montalban and the boys return, reclaiming one of their own. Blue leads the settlers in an ambush of the Mexicans, and final allegiances begin to surface.

Made in 1968, this western has a definite contemporary feel to it. There are no good guys and bad guys, and Blue is an antihero if there ever was one. His romance with Pettet is expected but never forced or false. Malden is also excellent as the doctor who is supposed to help people, murderers or not. Stamp is good as Blue, never speaking through the first half of the film, so when he finally does open up about himself you find yourself hanging on his every word.

Narizzano shows a wonderful directorial eye, highlighting great Utah scenery. He is able to generate suspense (Pettet's attack in the general store), lust (a very good clothed love scene), and violence (the final showdown) without getting show-offy with the camera. Yakima Canutt was stunt coordinator here, and the explosive finale is some of his best work.

While "Blue" might be hard to find, it is worth the rental, and I highly recommend it. (* * * * *) out of five stars. Get this movie now!: Blue