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Hombre 1967

John Russell, disdained by his "respectable" fellow stagecoach passengers because he was raised by Indians, becomes their only hope for survival when they are set upon by outlaws...

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Imdb rating: 7.4

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(DVD) (First Viewing, 3rd Ritt film)

Now this is certainly an odd duck in the Western genre. Not only does Paul Newman star as a blue eyed Apache, it involves itself in exploring racial prejudice in the Old West rather than being a typcial stagecoach hold-up film.

On a stagecoach journey that goes horribly wrong, Paul Newman must decide whether or not to help a group of snobbish white folk who had demanded he not ride inside the coach because of his Apache upbringing. As outlandish as it initially seems (and an awful wig doesn't help), Paul Newman does an extremely good job as a man suspended between two worlds, saying as little as possible, letting the situations speak for themselves. Diane Cilento, as the fiery and erotic red-head willing to speak her mind, is the other standout in the ragamuffin group Newman is forced to help (others include a frail looking Fredric March, Margaret Blye, Martin Balsam and Barbara Rush, who looks like she was hauled from the wax museum to do her part).

Judging from some of the reviews on the IMDb user comments section, which declare Hombre as the best Western ever and Paul Newman's best film, this film inspires much passion in some people. While it's far from either in my opinion, I'm more than willing to watch Paul Newman in anything, and Hombre is another respectable film in his legendary filmography.


There is little indication from the movie trailer that this film is a classic in its genre. There are few more intelligent films than this one. Paul Newman is superb, as is the rest of the cast. This is one great film.
Paul Newman is John Russell/Tres Hombres, a white man raised by Indians, who finds himself in difficult position when he becomes the only hope for a group of stagecoach passengers facing a gang of outlaws. Beautiful realized western that manages to say something meaningful about prejudice without ever resorting to preaching the audience. Newman is a reluctant, fascinating hero, one of many interesting characters in an extremely well-written, well-directed movie. Diane Cilento is superb as one of the passengers. Her exchanges with Newman are priceless and give film its substance. Richard Boone is a terrific bad guy (too bad he practically disappears during the second half), and Fredric March is marvelous in one of his last roles. I liked how director Martin Ritt shot the film - lots of interesting medium shots and hardly any music, allowing ambient sounds to do their work. A very interesting western, with plenty of meat for intellect, good characterizations, and great plot twists.
Hombre is a good movie for the era in which it was made. I have no basis for this, but it is probably one of the first movies to sympathize with the Native American plight. I could watch Paul Newman do anything (not gayly, mind you), and he is as good as always in this. His delivery is spot-on. The ending was a little disappointing. Not because of the results, but I think the plan was a little shaky. What if the kid missed despite having a free shot? The Apaches are more crafty than that. Anyway, there were some thought provoking themes brought up and I think the movie was well made. Fredric March's doctor is a type of character who is now widely portrayed -- the self preserving and easy to hate closet caitiff; and March played it very believingly. I love these old kind of laid back westerns. I am crossing my fingers for a rebirth of the western movie; hopefully lead by the success of 3:10 to Yuma and some others.
It is certainly a well made film. The cinematography is excellent, good cast although Newman is not the best choice for the role. I also found the film very slow moving, but the wel written screenplay was a plus. Unimpressive period detail.