Hannie Caulder

PLOT:

Hannie Caulder (Welch) is a frontier wife whose husband is murdered by the Clemens brothers, a trio of rather inept outlaw brothers (played by Borgnine, Strother Martin, and Jack Elam).

After a disastrous bank raid, the Clemens men rape Caulder, burn down her house, and leave her for dead. They go on a crime spree, while Caulder recruits professional bounty hunter Thomas Price (Culp) to help her seek revenge by training her to use a gun.

REVIEW:

Spaghetti westerns are one thing, but who would ever think to make a British western? Apparently, the people behind Hannie Caulder, a small, forgotten western that featured Raquel Welch in the title role. As gorgeous as Welch is, the question has to be posed, is there any reason to watch this film other than worshiping the goddess?

What is this about?

When a trio of thugs shows up at her door, kills her husband and burns down her house, Hannie Caulder is raped and left for dead. But the resilient Wild West widow rallies to plot a fitting revenge against her attackers.

What did I like?

Legacy. Although this is a lesser known film, the plot has elements that have been used in another female driven western that was released not too long ago, Bandidas, which also wasn’t that well known. For a small film like this to have a reach like that is pretty impressive, if you ask me.

If you got it, flaunt it. With the absolutely gorgeous Raquel Welch as your lead, you would be an idiot to not flaunt her beauty at some point. These filmmakers knew to do just that, as seen in the bathtub scenes where she is tightening her jeans, for instance. They also had the restraint not to go overboard with her, which would have spoiled the tone and ruined the film.

What didn’t I like?

Score. I believe it is the theme, or maybe it is just a random part of the score, but some part of the film’s soundtrack sounds like it is trying either paying homage to and/or ripping off the brilliant theme written by Elmer Bernstein for The Magnificent Seven. I wouldn’t have a problem with this, except this isn’t the first western I’ve heard this in. Did film composers just rip each other off back then?

Rape. I am just not a fan of rape in films. Thank goodness this ne didn’t go to the extremes that Straw Dogs did, but still it didn’t sit right with me. I get that it was an important plot point and gave motivation to Welch’s character, but that doesn’t mean I have to like that it happened!

Well, Hannie Caulder won’t get any nominations for the best western of all time, that much you can be sure of. Don’t underestimate this little flick, though. There is a decent plot here with some nice acting, comedy, and gunplay. I find myself questioning what to give it, but then I think about whether I’ll remember it this time next week, let alone this time next year. The answer is a resounding no, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable. So, watch and enjoy. Just don’t expect to be blown away by anything.

3 1/3 out of 5 stars

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