review for Two Mules for Sister Sara on AllMovie

Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)
by Craig Butler review

Two Mules for Sister Sara belongs to the "opposites attract" genre of film, in which two mismatched individuals are thrown together and over the course of the film develop a far deeper relationship than could be guessed from examining their surface characteristics (see The African Queen). Often over the course of these kind of films, the audience learns that deep down, one or both of these characters is quite different from the persona they present to the outer world, but this "revelation" is more extreme in Sara, which is a plus. That plus is needed, as it gives Sara an interesting aspect that it otherwise lacks. Not that Sara isn't entertaining, for it is; it's just that it's not as interesting or as entertaining as one keeps wishing it would be. Part of the problem lies with its stars. Clint Eastwood and Shirley Maclaine are opposites, but they don't attract as naturally as one wants them to, and their acting styles don't mesh. Each turns in a fine performance on its own, but paired together they grate against each other. The screenplay is too episodic and though individual sequences are very good, it's not quite cohesive enough. Director Don Siegel works efficiently, but he can't mesh his stars' styles and the violence gets a bit jarring in places; nevertheless, some segments, such as the rattlesnake and the arrow removal, are hard to beat. And throughout, the film is beautifully shot by Gabriel Figueroa.