Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Well of Lost Hopes

Robert N. Bradbury's dirt-cheap Western The Lawless Frontier includes a chase scene with John Wayne's generic cowboy of the month chasing the seedy villain Zanti. Unfortunately for the Duke, Zanti is on horseback while Wayne's cowboy is on foot. The chase appears hopeless for Wayne until Zanti needlessly and hilariously handicaps himself by smacking his head on a low-hanging branch while riding under a tree, knocking himself silly and losing his horse. Zanti, dazed, stumbles across the desert while John Wayne follows at a leisurely walking pace. Wayne catches up to Zanti just as the villain is trying to regain his strength and senses by drinking from a pool of water. 

The Duke: "Drink all you want. It's poison."

Camera cuts to a crude sign: "Do Not Drink. Poison." With a badly drawn skull.

Bad guy looks utterly stunned, then dies in the puddle of poison.

It was a beautiful moment in an otherwise forgettable film.  

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