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Duel at Diablo

An old fashioned Western in all the right ways, DUEL AT DIABLO is an action packed and enjoyable ride.

James Garner is terrific as Jess, an ex-army scout spending his days searching for his missing bride. As the film opens, he escapes Apache attack and saves Ellen Grange (Bibi Andersson), a lone woman he finds near death in the desert.

Returning her to town, he finds her husband (Dennis Weaver, much younger and more leading man quality than his "McCloud" days) is less than receptive to her return.

Jess soon finds himself escorting a wagon train including Grange and his wife, an army troop and a massive stockpile of ammunition across dangerous Apache territory.

Sidney Poitier is great as Toller, a former Army officer and now horse-breaker and man about town who finds himself side-by-side with Jess on their dangerous trip.

There's plenty of action, plenty of drama and some surprisingly powerful stories woven into this traditional western that hit theatres in 1966.

I loved that Poitier's race was never mentioned and that the characters represented a wide array of nationalities in the emerging West.

The music score is by Neil Hefti, who created the legendary "Batman" theme and scored the TV series. It's occasionally off putting in its light jazz touches against the pioneer west, but overall interesting.

Garner is pure movie star and Poitier matches him.

This isn't a buddy movie, it's an interesting look at a lot of folks put into a very dangerous scenario and a fight for survival.

The poster art is by Frank McCarthy, who also did a lot of the artwork for the classic Bond films. It's one of the best posters on the sixties, back when posters and newspaper ads are what drove folks to films.

DIABLO is a traditional western through an international eye and it rides & shoots its way to an entertaining B.

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