Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Overlooked Movies: Buck and the Preacher

I don't think of Buck and the Preacher as a blaxploitation picture, myself, though obviously whoever did the trailer below does.  I think of it as a western, because that's what it is.  There are a couple of plots, and the poster gives you a good idea of one of them that's not obvious at all in the trailer.  And speaking of the poster, note Sidney Poitier's cool pistols that fire shotgun shells.  He can shoot both at once without the trace of a kick, as you can see in the trailer.

Poitier plays Buck, a wagon master who's leading feed slaves from Louisiana to a better life in the west.  After an attack on the wagon train by men hired by plantation owners to bring back the former slaves, Poitier's on the run from the villainous DeShay (Cameron Mitchell). That's plot #1.  

While he's running, Poitier comes across Belafonte, the Preacher, and takes his horse.  At that point, Belafonte is chasing Buck for the reward money, which is substantial.  That's plot #2.  

I probably don't even have to tell you that after a while, Belafonte realizes that he and Buck are really on the same side and that they need to stick together.  And I probably don't have to tell you that DeShay is going to come to a well-deserved end.  But I will, so consider yourselves told.

There's some comedy in the movie, and there's some action, too.  It's pretty much a traditional western in most ways, aside from the actors cast in the leads.  You can imagine John Wayne and Dean Martin in these roles, for example.  Putting Poitier and Belafonte in them was groundbreaking in its day (1972).  The movie's a little slow in spots, but it's still fun.  Good nontraditional score, too.

2 comments:

Don Coffin said...

I love that movie. We saw it at a theater in Morgantown, WV (grad school; what can I say) when it was a first-run movie, and I remember being blown away by the script (this was a very subversive movie for people whose vision of the old West was John Wayne and Randolph Scott). And The Preacher opening u his Bible and taking out...well, I won't spoil it for you. This claims to be a complete version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IerEp2hXseE

Unknown said...

There's a spoiler in the trailer about the Good Book.