The blog of a Western fan, for other Western fans

Joshua (Po’ Boy/Lone Star, 1976)

A burger Western

Blaxploitation could also
be applied to Westerns. This 70s effort had Fred Williamson (Kansas City Chiefs
football star turned action movie hero) as a soldier back from the Civil War,
avenging the murder of his dear, sweet mom by five evil badmen. It’s an absolutely
classic cliché as Fred/Josh hunts them down and picks them off one by one.

There is electronic music
(Mike Irwin) which merges into 70s sub-rock and is irritatingly repetitive. The
print I saw was very pale and it made the winter Monument Valley set even more
lunar than usual.
The dialogue was evidently
written by a committee of pupils from Utah junior high schools. Either that or
by a computer inputted with every Western cliché ever written and asked to come
up with a random sample. Actually, though, Fred wrote it. As a writer, he made
a great defensive back.

The trouble with such
movies is that to be even remotely credible the white actors would have to
treat Joshua in such a way and refer to him in such language that would have
been totally unacceptable to 1970s audiences, especially black ones. The n-word
would have been the least of their epithets. But of course they call him
‘hombre’ or something safe all the time.

Fred may have been good in Shaft-type movies shooting from 70s
Camaros or Mustangs but he can’t ride real mustangs to save his life. Nor can
most of the other actors. Their knees and elbows are everywhere and their hats
fall off. If you are looking for a kind of 1970s Deets from Lonesome Dove, forget it. Danny Glover he ain’t.
The girl kidnapped by
wicked Cal Bartlett seems to be affected by Tombstone syndrome (a Western
fore-runner of Stockholm syndrome) as she starts smooching with her captors.

It’s junk, really, a sort
of American spaghetti. A Burger Western?


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