Western, Fantasy, Thriller | 97 Mins | Released: 1975
Director: Jose Bolanos
Starring: Glen Lee, Venetia Vianello, James Westerfield, Virgil Frye, Evaristo Marquez, Sonny Vandeusen, Barbara Angely
Our Rating: 5
In the film Dead Aim, a traveling gravedigger during an (unspecified) war adopts a orphan he finds alone in the desert. After the war with the orphan grown and business slow, the orphan begins to generate business himself by shooting people. The orphan wants to make one big score by robbing a bank but the gravedigger resists. Their dream is to open a fancy funeral parlor and cemetery. The orphan becomes obsessed with a prostitute he saw who was later abandoned by her outlaw partner after a robbery attempt on a gold wagon goes bad. He eventually leaves the gravedigger to find her.
This stylish English-language Mexican western was first shown in 1971 at the Venice Film Festival as Arde, and was re-edited (with some new shots added) and re-released in 1974 as Arde baby Arde, or Burn Baby Burn.
Dead Aim bears a closer kinship with contemporary Italian “spaghetti” westerns than with the more conventional American variety.
The story of Dead Aim, which contains some bizarre touches (including necrophilia) concerns the efforts of a father and his adopted son to find the things they most want in life. Though for the father, gold holds much allure, love is the son’s beacon.
Review of Dead Aim:
Tasty Quesadilla Western with Some Magical Undercurrents
by mstomaso from Vulcan – 20 December 2007
This Mexico / U.S. film is reminiscent of “spaghetti westerns” of the late ’60s and ’70s. It has the same cinematic style and emphasis on a winding, convoluted, and somewhat ridiculous plot, decorated by a lot of very accurate gunfighting.
This was James Westerfield’s (a talented character actor) last film, and his performance is no disappointment. Westerveld co-stars in support of relative unknown Glen Lee. Lee’s character – “Johnnie” – is a psychological case-study. Applebee (Westerfield) rescues him from a rattler right after Johnny is orphaned in the desert in the spectacularly disorienting opening scenes. As it turns out, Johnny has an almost mystical connection with his gun and becomes Applebee’s bodyguard as Applebee raises Johnny like a son. Applebee is an itinerant mortician. With this set-up, the plot possibilities seem unlimited – and they are explored nicely! Dead Aim, despite the lightweight title, is a fine little western. the cinematography is good, the acting is good, and the story is entertaining. The script suffers a little from translation, but even this helps give the story and characters a slightly “off” feeling -which is very appropriate given the story-line.
I do not know much about the short-lived Jose Bolanos – who directed this – but I will keep an eye out for the rest of his films now that I have seen this.