A Man Called Sledge (1971)

R | 93 mins | Western | March 1971

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HISTORY

The working titles of the film were A Western and Sledge . In the opening credits, John Marley's credit reads "And John Marley as The Old Man." His was the only character name to be included in the onscreen credits. According to a Mar 1969 DV item, the film was to be entirely photographed in Rome, but, as noted in an Apr 1969 HR new item, after a month of shooting interiors in Rome, production on exteriors continued in Spain. A Man Called Sledge was the second and final feature film directed by actor Vic Morrow.
       According to Filmfacts , after screening the completed film in 1970, Morrow and co-producer Harry Bloom attempted to force Columbia to remove their names from the credits, accusing producer Dino De Laurentiis of "butchering" the film. The request was denied as De Laurentiis had complete control over the film. Several reviews pointed out the film's unsuccesful attempts to emulate the popular "Spaghetti Westerns" of Italian director Sergio ... More Less

The working titles of the film were A Western and Sledge . In the opening credits, John Marley's credit reads "And John Marley as The Old Man." His was the only character name to be included in the onscreen credits. According to a Mar 1969 DV item, the film was to be entirely photographed in Rome, but, as noted in an Apr 1969 HR new item, after a month of shooting interiors in Rome, production on exteriors continued in Spain. A Man Called Sledge was the second and final feature film directed by actor Vic Morrow.
       According to Filmfacts , after screening the completed film in 1970, Morrow and co-producer Harry Bloom attempted to force Columbia to remove their names from the credits, accusing producer Dino De Laurentiis of "butchering" the film. The request was denied as De Laurentiis had complete control over the film. Several reviews pointed out the film's unsuccesful attempts to emulate the popular "Spaghetti Westerns" of Italian director Sergio Leone. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 Mar 1969.
---
Daily Variety
1 Mar 1971
p. 3, 13.
Filmfacts
1971
pp. 231-33
Hollywood Reporter
29 Apr 1969.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 1971
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
19 May 1971.
---
New York Times
10 Jun 1971
p. 51.
San Francisco Chronicle
26 Mar 1971.
---
Saturday Review
20 Mar 1971.
---
Variety
3 Mar 1971
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Historical consultant
Script cont
Dial dir
STAND INS
Stunt coord
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Dino," Editioni Musicali, Rome.
SONGS
"Other Men's Gold" music and lyrics by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter, sung by Stefan Grossman.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
A Western
Sledge
Release Date:
March 1971
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 19 March 1971
Production Date:
late March--April 1969 at Dino De Laurentiis Cinematographica, Rome, Italy and in Granada, Spain
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 March 1971
Copyright Number:
LP39196
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Techniscope
Duration(in mins):
93
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Italy, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After holding up a stagecoach, a gang led by outlaw Luther Sledge separates, and Sledge accompanied by gang member Mallory, ride to the tiny community of Three-W. At the saloon there, Sledge reunites with call-girl Ria, who is in love with him. Mallory, meanwhile, joins a card game, but after winning numerous hands in a row is shot to death by two frustrated gamblers. Hearing the gunfire, Sledge leaves Ria’s room but is disarmed by the gamblers. Pretending to be grief stricken, Sledge embraces Mallory's body, grabs the dead man’s gun and kills the gamblers. An old man at the bar witnesses the events and declares that Sledge’s actions were in self-defense. The next day, the old man follows Sledge as he rides off to rejoin his gang. The gunfighter questions the old man, who reveals he is actually following a caravan escorting gold taken from nearby Big Rock canyon mines. Intrigued, Sledge takes the old man with him to rendezvous with the others, including his long-time partner Erwin Ward, Hooker, Joyce, Floyd, Beetle, Kehoe, Toby and Bice. The old man explains that he spent twenty years in Rockville prison in the maximum security wing where an enormous vault houses the gold on its journey to a big city bank. The gold is escorted by a special, hand-selected forty-member cavalry guard who travel only by day. Because the trip from the mines to the city takes more than a day, they stop at the prison overnight, where the gold is locked in a vault whose combination is only known by the warden. The old man adds ... +


After holding up a stagecoach, a gang led by outlaw Luther Sledge separates, and Sledge accompanied by gang member Mallory, ride to the tiny community of Three-W. At the saloon there, Sledge reunites with call-girl Ria, who is in love with him. Mallory, meanwhile, joins a card game, but after winning numerous hands in a row is shot to death by two frustrated gamblers. Hearing the gunfire, Sledge leaves Ria’s room but is disarmed by the gamblers. Pretending to be grief stricken, Sledge embraces Mallory's body, grabs the dead man’s gun and kills the gamblers. An old man at the bar witnesses the events and declares that Sledge’s actions were in self-defense. The next day, the old man follows Sledge as he rides off to rejoin his gang. The gunfighter questions the old man, who reveals he is actually following a caravan escorting gold taken from nearby Big Rock canyon mines. Intrigued, Sledge takes the old man with him to rendezvous with the others, including his long-time partner Erwin Ward, Hooker, Joyce, Floyd, Beetle, Kehoe, Toby and Bice. The old man explains that he spent twenty years in Rockville prison in the maximum security wing where an enormous vault houses the gold on its journey to a big city bank. The gold is escorted by a special, hand-selected forty-member cavalry guard who travel only by day. Because the trip from the mines to the city takes more than a day, they stop at the prison overnight, where the gold is locked in a vault whose combination is only known by the warden. The old man adds that this system has worked so well that there have been no successful robbery attempts in more than ten years. Sending Beetle to retrieve Ria, Sledge asks the rest of the men to accompany him to Rockville to assess the town’s layout and consider if the gold escort can be attacked. Once in Rockville, however, the old man’s attempt to purchase several rifles for Sledge arouses the suspicions of the shopkeeper, who informs Sheriff Ripley. When the sheriff insistently questions the old man, Sledge takes the lawman prisoner. Alerted to the situation by the shopkeeper, Ripley’s deputies spread out through the town and when the chief deputy tries to attack Sledge a massive gunfight breaks out and most of the gang races away to safety as Sledge remains in the store. Hooker, Floyd and Toby ride back to help Sledge, but Floyd is killed and Toby brutally shot down. Hooker brings Sledge his horse and, using Ripley as a shield, the men escape. After Sledge sends Ripley into the desert tied to a horse, he and Hooker then meet up with Ward and the others who have located the cavalry escort. Impressed by the caravan’s quick, unified response to anyone who approaches them, the men become disheartened, convinced of the hopelessness of a robbery. Privately, Ward tells Sledge he believes any attempt to take the gold would be suicide. When Beetle arrives with Ria, she observes that Sledge has become obsessed with the gold, but promises to remain loyal to him. Sledge then enthusiastically tells the gang his plan to obtain the gold: Ward, posing as a sheriff who has arrested Sledge, will go to the Rockville prison to ask the warden to house the outlaw in the prison's maximum security wing overnight. Once near the vault, Sledge and Ward will free the other prisoners and use the ensuing chaos to let in the rest of the gang. Determined to reach the gold or die trying, Sledge confidently asks Ria to meet him in a small village across the Mexican border the next day. That night, the men enact Sledge’s plan and Ward leads Sledge in handcuffs to the prison. Impressed by the arrest of the notorious Sledge, guards admit the men, who are taken directly to the warden. Ripley, who has returned to Rockville, arrives and confirms Sledge’s identity, then beats him up in anger at being abandoned earlier. Playing the role of sheriff, Ward demands protection for his prisoner and insists on remaining with Sledge as he is taken to maximum security. Soon after being locked in a cell together, Ward unlocks Sledge’s handcuffs. Excited at the prospect of freedom, the other prisoners help attack the guard with the keys and once freed, Sledge and Ward release the inmates. Following the rampaging convicts outside, Sledge shoots open a rifle storage case and once armed, the escapees enthusiastically take on the guards in the courtyard. Waiting outside, Hooker blows open the main gate and the rest of the gang enters the prison grounds. Sledge reaches the warden’s office only to discover he has been killed by vengeful prisoners. Joined by the gang, Sledge forces the suddenly nervous old man to accompany them to the vault, certain that the former prisoner must have heard the combination repeatedly over the years. Threatened with being locked in a cell and abandoned, the old man haltingly reproduces the correct number of turns on the vault’s dial. Taking as many bags of gold as possible, the gang struggles through the mayhem in the courtyard as Ripley has rounded up his deputies to halt the mass breakout. As Sledge’s group flees, Ripley follows, shooting Ward in the back. Alerted by Ward’s dying scream, Sledge rides back and kills Ripley. Afterward, miles away at an abandoned Indian village, the surviving gang members gloat over the successful robbery. A spirited game of cards breaks out between the men, but Sledge remains aloof. When Joyce tries to cheat, the old man kills him and the others are shocked when Sledge does not intervene. Disgusted, Beetle takes his remaining share and departs. Angered, Sledge plays the old man in a two-man game and, winning all of the gold, departs alone. The old man then convinces Hooker, Kehoe and Bice to hasten to the Mexican village ahead of Sledge in order to ambush him. When Sledge reaches the village, he is forced to kill Kehoe, then discovers to his dismay that the others are holding Ria hostage. Ater agreeing to leave the gold in the town square, Sledge finds Ria dying of injuries inflicted by the gang and hunts down Bice and Hooker in vengeance. The old man attempts to escape after hiding the gold, but, Sledge shoots the old man and rides away, having lost interest in the gold. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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