Friday, June 25, 2021

#2,590. Zachariah (1971)


Director George Englund’s 1971 western Zachariah boasts spirited musical sequences (provided by bands like Country Joe and the Fish and The James Gang, both of which appear in the movie) and a counterculture mentality that - while certainly a product of its time - drives its themes of friendship and anti-violence home in a convincing way.

Zachariah (John Rubinstein) and his buddy Matthew (a very young Don Johnson) are wannabe gunslingers out to make a name for themselves, joining forces first with a group of hapless outlaws known as The Crackers (Country Joe and the Fish) before teaming up with Job Cain (jazz drummer Elvin Jones), the fastest draw in the west.

Featuring comedy (that’s admittedly more “miss” than “hit”), imaginative set pieces (the psychedelic design of Belle Starr’s desert brothel is a definite highlight), and plenty of music (Elvin Jones’ drum solo is amazing), Zachariah ranks as one of the most unusual westerns ever made, and that alone is reason enough to see it.
Rating: 7 out of 10

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