Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Indian Western, Chase Movie  |   Release Date - Dec 18, 1969 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Most notable as Abe Polonsky's return to directing after two decades on the blacklist, it sadly lacks the brilliance of the earlier Force of Evil (1948) or his script for Body and Soul (1947). The tale of a young Paiute Indian (Robert Blake), whose killing of his lover's (Katherine Ross) father quickly grows into a minor political crisis, is intended as a ritualized tragedy of injustice with veiled allusions to McCarthy-ite witch hunts, but is so hamstrung by its cryptic plot and beautiful, yet murky compositions that its impact is severely diminished. The script unwisely buries its more compelling narrative line of clashing cultures to wander among a pair of wispily impenetrable romances. Still, the film is graced with four excellent performances: Robert Redford as the sheriff whose name, Cooper, is supposed to signal his essential decency; the much underrated Susan Clark, as the sympathetic Paiute reservation administrator; as well as Ross and an outstanding Blake. Despite the dimness of many night scenes, cameraman Conrad Hall makes the most of the region's striking terrain.