Charley-One-Eye (1973) | Blaxploitation meets Buñuel in a bleak but brilliant existential Western
Described by one critic as though Stanley Kramer had made an Italian Western on a slim British budget, the allegorical period piece Charley-One-Eye (1973) stars Shaft’s Richard Roundtree as a soldier gone AWOL who meets up with a crippled Indian (The Invaders’ Roy Thinnes) while heading to the Mexican border. Holing up in an abandoned church, the duo find some common ground existing in the unforgiving desert until a bounty hunter (Nigel Davenport) comes looking for Roundtree…
Although sold as a blaxploitation/Western crossover, this Anglo-Spanish production from British director Don Chaffey (best known for Jason and the Argonauts and Hammer fare like Plague of the Zombies) is One Million Years away from funky soul food like Shaft. Instead, we have a bleak, claustrophobic character-driven tale about survival in a hostile landscape, that’s light on action, heavy on atmosphere, and sprinkled with surreal touches much favored by Buñuel and Jodorowsky.
If you like your films with an existential bent, then Charley-One-Eye might be just up your street. And who is Charley, I hear you cry? Well, he happens to be a chicken that causes a bit of a ruckus in the ensuing drama. Interestingly, the film was produced by famed British broadcaster David Frost and came out the same year as the superior High Plains Drifter, the surreal cult Dirty Little Billy, and the last in original Django series, Adios!
The OEG Classic Movies UK DVD release features a digitally restored, re-mastered print.
Posted on September 18, 2015, in Must-See, Western and tagged 1960s western, Charley-One-Eye, Don Chaffey, Existentialism, Hammer, Odeon Entertainment, OEG Classic Movies, Richard Roundtree, Roy Thinnes, Surrealism, Western. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.